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Butler, Marshall suspended one game, Bryant and Alvarado three games for Pelicans, Heat incident

NBA: Miami Heat at New Orleans Pelicans

Feb 23, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall (8) and guard Jose Alvarado (15) are ejected after a melee due to a play during the second half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA announced its suspension out of Friday night’s Heat and Pelicans altercation, and Miami should exhale upon seeing them. The league’s suspensions are:

• Heat’s Jimmy Butler, one game
• Timberwolves Naji Marshall, one game
• Heat’s Thomas Bryant, three games
• Pelicans’ Jose Alvarado, three games
• Heat’s Nikola Jovic, one game

Alvarado and Bryant got hit harder because they were on the bench when everything started and jumped into the fray — the NBA comes down hard on bench players jumping in to avoid bench-clearing brawls. Which is why the Heat were lucky, a lot of players on their bench rushed over and got involved — that’s where Jovic’s one game comes in — but only Bryant threw a punch and escalated things.

Butler is out Monday night when the Heat face the Kings, and that’s when Bryant’s three-game suspension starts. Marshall is out Sunday night when the Pelicans host the Bulls, and that’s when Alvarado’s suspension begins.

The incident started early in the fourth quarter Friday night. Butler grabbed a rebound, but Zion Williamson stole the ball back from him and drove hard to the basket for a bucket. That’s where Kevin Love tried to wrap up Williamson with an intentional foul to stop the easy two. Zion went to the ground after the foul and that’s when Marshall ran in to get in Love’s face, but Butler got in his way and things escalated from there.

Neither Zion nor Love were suspended. After the game, Zion had no ill will toward Love, saying the Heat big tried to cushion his fall, but he knew it was nothing intentional.