Udonis Haslem speaks out on Nikola Jokic: ‘I don’t think Jokic is a bad guy’

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Miami Heat forward Markieff Morris got into a scuffle in Monday night’s game that led to Jokic being suspended for one game.

Jokic’s blindside hit on Morris certainly was a dirty move, but Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem is letting things go as the team focuses on tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Obviously in a situation like that, alpha males and reactions take over,” Haslem said. “A couple of days later, we all want what’s best for everybody. I don’t think Jokic is a bad guy. I actually love him as a basketball player and I love him as a person. I think he’s a really good guy. I think emotions just got the best of everybody.

“Looking at it a day or two later, I wish it wouldn’t have gone down the way it went down. But I don’t think he’s a bad guy, nor do I think he’s a dirty player. I’m also a guy who has definitely let emotions get the best of me sometimes. But I never hit nobody in the back, and I think that’s where it got a little murky. But I don’t think he’s a bad guy, and I don’t think he meant to hurt anybody. We don’t hold grudges, so it’s time to move on.”

The Heat ended up losing to Denver on Monday, but they will look to bounce back tonight against the Lakers.

Los Angeles will not have LeBron James (abdominal strain) in the matchup. The Heat are 7-3 on the season and currently are tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat and Lakers are scheduled to tip off at 10 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.