The Blazers and Heat met on Wednesday night in Portland with both teams down two stars, as Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo were all out of action. After Kyle Lowry got tossed on an incredibly soft second technical foul in the second quarter, there wasn’t a ton of star power on the court, but the two teams did battle til the end of a game that became very chippy late.
With a minute to go and the Heat up 10, Jusuf Nurkic knocked Tyler Herro down with a legal but hard screen and then admired his work for a second, standing over Herro, before eventually rolling to the rim. As he rolled, Herro popped up and ran after Nurkic, shoving him in the back and setting off a brief kerfuffle, with Nurkic pawing at Herro’s face before players and referees stepped in to separate everyone getting a bit chesty.
It’s hard to know if it was the screen itself that angered Herro or Nurkic standing over him and maybe saying something to him about it, but it is a touch ironic that a member of the Heat would be shoving someone from behind given how upset they got as a team about Nikola Jokic leveling Markieff Morris from behind earlier this season (to be clear, it wasn’t a good move from either player). In Herro’s case, he happened to be shoving a much larger man, meaning all he did was poke the bear and anger Nurkic rather than sending him to the court.
Both players were tossed, rightfully, for their actions — Nurkic grabbing/slapping at Herro’s face and Herro for the shove in the back. The game got tight from there, but Miami ultimately hung on for the win despite all of the absences and ejections.