Jimmy Butler among 5 players suspended for Heat-Pelicans brawl

Heat forward Jimmy Butler is among five players suspended for their roles in a brawl between Miami and the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

The NBA handed Butler and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall one-game suspensions without pay each “for instigating and engaging in an on-court altercation” during the game at Smoothie King Center.

Heat center Thomas Bryant and Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado received three-game suspensions without pay for leaving the bench area “during the on-court altercation and fighting,” the league said. Heat forward Nikola Jović received a one-game suspension without pay for leaving the bench area during the brawl.

The altercation erupted in the fourth quarter when the Heat’s Kevin Love fouled Pelicans star Zion Williamson on an attempted layup that led to Williamson crashing to the floor. Both teams started going back and forth verbally after Williamson fell.

Then, Marshall and Butler got entangled and had to be separated after attempting to go after each other multiple times. Marshall appeared to choke Butler at one point before the players were pulled apart.

While the two teams were being separated, Bryant and Alvarado appeared to get into a physical altercation in front of the scorers’ table that enflamed the two sides once again. Alvarado and Bryant were both on the bench during the initial altercation.

Officials ejected Butler, Bryant, Marshall and Alvarado from the game. Despite losing Butler, their leading scorer, in the dust-up, the Heat walked away with a 106-95 victory.

“I thought it was two competitive teams that want to win,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “Sometimes, you’re going to have things like that, that happen.”

Williamson said he “wasn’t tripping about K Love. He actually protected me on my fall.”

Marshall will serve his suspension Sunday night against the Chicago Bulls, and Marshall will begin his three-game suspension then. Butler and Jović will miss Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, the same night Bryant will begin serving his three-game ban.

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(Photo: Sean Gardner / Getty Images)

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