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NBA suspends 5 Heat, Pelicans players for melee

NBA suspends 5 Heat, Pelicans players for melee thumbnail
The NBA suspended Miami forward Jimmy Butler and New Orleans forward Naji Marshall for one game without pay for instigating and engaging in an on-court altercation during the Heat’s 106-95 victory Fri

The NBA suspended Miami forward Jimmy Butler and New Orleans forward Naji Marshall for one game without pay for instigating and engaging in an on-court altercation during the Heat’s 106-95 victory Friday over the host Pelicans, the league announced Sunday.

Heat center Thomas Bryant and Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado were suspended three games without pay for leaving the bench area during the on-court altercation and fighting. Heat forward Nikola Jovic has been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area and entering the altercation.

Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, the Heat’s Kevin Love committed a hard common foul on the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, leading to a series of skirmishes.

Butler and Marshall engaged in a physical altercation and then Alvarado and Bryant began fighting. For their roles, Alvarado, Bryant, Butler and Marshall were assessed technical fouls and ejected from the game.

Marshall will serve his suspension Sunday night, and Alvarado will begin serving his penalty as well when New Orleans hosts the Chicago Bulls.

Bryant will begin serving his suspension on Monday when the Heat visit the Sacramento Kings. Butler and Jovic also will serve their suspensions that night.

Butler leads the Heat with 21.4 points per game and also averages 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists and 33.7 minutes. Jovic averages 5.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 16.7 minutes, while Bryant averages 4.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 10.4 minutes.

Marshall averages 7.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 18.4 minutes per game, while Alvarado averages 7.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 16.8 minutes.