Heat's Jimmy Butler likens NBA suspension to jail sentence


Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, who was one of five players suspended for a fight that broke out during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans, took to Instagram where he joked that the ban was akin to a jail sentence.

The NBA announced Sunday that Butler, fellow Heat forward Nikola Jovic and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall were suspended for one game without pay for instigating and engaging in the "on-court altercation" Friday in New Orleans. Heat center Thomas Bryant and Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado were given three-game suspensions.

Butler responded to the news of the ban a few hours after it was issued.

"It was all Nikola Jovic's fault," he wrote for the caption on an Instagram post, which featured the teammates posing on an altered movie poster for the Bad Boys franchise.

Butler tagged the location of the post as the Miami-Dade County Jail. He also posted screenshots of music he was listening to on his Instagram story, including Akon's "Locked Up" and Kanye West's "Jail."

Butler, 34, is averaging a team-high 21.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season. The six-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive Team selection appeared in 38 games so far this season.

The Heat (31-25) will play without the star forward when they battle the Sacramento Kings (33-23) at 10 p.m. EST Monday in Sacramento.

"I want to go out there and compete with my guys, as does Nico, as does T.B.," Butler told reporters Sunday, when asked about his teammate beating the Kings.

"I think we have enough to get it done. It might be a little bit more difficult, but I know that these guys can do it."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Sunday that he didn't think the NBA was correct in its decision to ban Butler for one game.

"It felt like Jimmy shouldn't have gotten a game on that," Spoelstra said. "It was really just kind of tangling and a little pushing. I don't think that deserves another game, because he ended up missing the fourth quarter. But it is what it is."