Five Players Suspended For Friday Altercation Between Heat, Pelicans

Heat big man Thomas Bryant and Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado have been suspended three games apiece for leaving the bench area and fighting during an on-court altercation on Friday in New Orleans, the NBA announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

Additionally, Heat forward Jimmy Butler and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall will face one-game suspensions for instigating the incident, while Heat forward Nikola Jovic will be suspended for one game for leaving Miami’s bench area and entering the fracas, per the league.

The incident began when Heat forward/center Kevin Love wrapped up Zion Williamson as the Pelicans star attempted a layup early in the fourth quarter (Twitter video link). Marshall objected to the play and rushed to confront Love, resulting in Marshall and Butler getting into a shoving match, with players and coaches from both teams looking to intercede.

The altercation escalated briefly, then seemed to be cooling down before Bryant and Alvarado exchanged heated words and threw punches in front of the scorer’s table (Twitter video link). Butler, Bryant, Marshall, and Alvarado were all ejected from the game, which Miami eventually won.

The Pelicans will host the Bulls on Sunday, so Marshall will serve his one-game suspension tonight, while Alvardo will begin serving his three-game ban. Alvarado will miss games in New York on Tuesday and Indiana on Wednesday as well.

With Dyson Daniels (left knee) and CJ McCollum (left ankle) also unavailable for the Pelicans on Sunday and Williamson (left foot) and Brandon Ingram (non-COVID illness) considered questionable, the team recalled a handful of players – Jalen Crutcher, E.J. Liddell, Malcolm Hill, and Dereon Seabron – from the G League on Saturday for depth purposes.

The Heat will be in action on Monday in Sacramento, so Bryant, Butler, and Jovic will miss that game, with Bryant also sitting out the team’s contests in Portland on Tuesday and Denver on Thursday.

The three-game suspensions will cost Bryant $52,308 (of his $2,528,233 salary) and Alvarado $37,988 (of $1,836,096), per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links).

Because he’s on a maximum-salary contract, Butler will forfeit by far the biggest total ($259,968) of any of the five affected players, despite being suspended for just a single game. Jovic will lose $13,517, while Marshall will lose $11,096.

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