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Jimmy Butler among four ejected after scuffle in Heat, Pelicans game

Miami Heat v New Orleans Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 23: Naji Marshall #8 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat are involved in an altercation during the fourth quarter of an NBA game at Smoothie King Center on February 23, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Both players were ejected. 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 Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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It all started with a hustle play by Zion Williamson and a professional foul by Kevin Love — and neither of them ended up being one of the four players ejected in the scuffle between the Heat and Pelicans.

It all started after Jimmy Butler secured a rebound early in the fourth quarter. As he began to dribble up court, Zion Williamson went for the steal and got it then quickly drove to the bucket, where Kevin Love tried to wrap up Williamson with an intentional foul to stop the easy two in a tight game (Miami led 84-81). Zion went to the ground after the foul, but Zion said postgame Love tried to protect his fall and there was no beef between them.

That’s when the Pelicans’ Naji Marshall raced in to get in Love’s face. Butler stood up for Love, and it was on.

After a review by the referees four players were ejected: Marshall, Butler, Heat reserve big Thomas Bryant and the Pelicans’ Jose Alvarado. Butler was not happy about being ejected.

“I don’t think I should have gotten thrown out of the game,” Butler said, via the Associated Press. Butler was tossed in part for putting his hands on Marshall but said he only did so to protect Kevin Love, he didn’t escalate things.

Expect fines to come out of this and likely suspension for Bryant and Alvarado, who were on the bench at the time of the incident, which had started to calm down when they escalated things again (the league comes down hard on bench players jumping into fights). Other players, particularly for the Heat, appear to have left the bench as well and that could add to the suspensions out of this incident.

Miami went on to win the game 106-95 behind 24 points from Bam Adebayo.