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Nikola Jokic ejected, facing likely suspension after bizarre shoulder slam

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There are ejectable offenses, and then there's what Nikola Jokic did to end his night on Monday.

In the final minutes of a blowout win over the Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets star responded to a hard foul from Markieff Morris by charging into Morris with his shoulder football-style. The cheap shot earned Jokic an immediate ejection and left Morris injured on the floor.

A stretcher was rolled onto the court for Morris, but the veteran forward eventually left under his own power. No one was angrier than Heat star Jimmy Butler.

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 08: Markieff Morris #8 of the Miami Heat lays on the ground after being hit by Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on November 8, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
What was Nikola Jokic thinking? (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Curiously, Morris was also ejected for his own hard foul, which was judged as a flagrant 2.

Jokic, whose MVP campaign last season also ended with an ejection, finished his night with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. Considering the nature of his foul, he'll likely face at least a one-game suspension plus a fine.

The Nuggets eventually won 113-96. After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra blasted Jokic for what he called a "dangerous, dirty play."

"That was a very dangerous, dirty play," Spoelstra said. "I thought Kieff took a foul and it was one of those fast break take fouls that he did with his shoulder. You might deem that a little bit more than just slapping somebody, but after I watched it on film, it was a take foul. That's how I saw it, and the play after that, that's just absolutely uncalled for. 

"This whole thing could have been a whole lot uglier, if Markieff was actually facing Jokic. The fact that he had his back turned and he made a play like that, blind-siding him, that's just a very dangerous play."

Spoelstra added that no Heat players would speak postgame with reporters.

Jokic: 'I feel bad'

Following the game, Jokic spoke to reporters about the foul and admitted it was a rash move that he doesn't feel good about. 

"It's a stupid play. I feel bad. I'm not supposed to react that way. But it's in the middle of the game, I get hit. ... I thought it was going to be a take foul. ... I think it was a dirty play and I just needed to protect myself. I felt bad. I'm not supposed to react that way, but I need to protect myself."

Jokic said later that he felt even worse after watching the clip of his foul on Morris, and that he didn't know if he'd be suspended for it. 

"I don't know who showed me the clip, and actually his head snapped back, so I feel really bad. ... It's a bad move."

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