Former NBA guard chimes in on ‘fake’ Miami Heat-New Orleans Pelicans fight

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Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

One former NBA player is highly skeptical of the two fights that occurred in the league on Friday, with Brandon Jennings taking to social media to call them fake.

A fight between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans early in the fourth quarter of their game resulted in four ejections. Another fight between the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans late in the fourth quarter saw two players get tossed.

Both incidents occurred during attempted layups.

For the Heat, Jimmy Butler and Thomas Bryant were ejected, as were Pelicans players Naji Marshall and Jose Alvarado. During the incident, Marshall tried to choke Butler. Bryant and Alvarado got into their confrontation near the scorer’s table after things had appeared to calm down.

The clash began when Pelicans star Zion Williamson stole the ball from Butler, and Kevin Love grabbed Williamson to prevent a basket. Williamson fell to the court, and Marshall rushed over.

“I wasn’t tripping about K-Love because he actually protected me on my fall,” Williamson said. “All of a sudden I see Butler kind of lunging toward Naji, so I’m trying to get there like, ‘Yo, relax, like what’s going on?'”

Butler suggested that Williamson flopped, and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he thought Williamson slipped and everybody overreacted.

“Then [Marshall] came and put his hands on K-Love, and that’s how it all escalated,” Butler said.

After a lengthy review by the officials, the four players were ejected. With the game being played at New Orleans, Marshall and Alvarado received a standing ovation as they walked off the court. The Heat won the game 106-95.

At Golden State, that altercation occurred when Lester Quinones of the Warriors drove to the basket with little time left and his team up by 11 points. After Miles Bridges of the Hornets committed goaltending to prevent the basket, the teams went at it under the hoop. In fact, it was so late in the game, the coaches were shaking hands before the skirmish occurred.

Quinones and Grant Williams were ejected, and Bridges was assessed a technical foul. The Warriors won the game 97-84.

Further NBA discipline for both instances could be forthcoming in the form of fines or suspensions. The Heat and Pelicans play again late next month, as do the Warriors and Hornets.

Jennings last played in the NBA in the 2017-18 season, his ninth in the league. He never played for any of the teams involved in the fights on Friday.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.