For all of the Miami Heat’s reputation for physicality and aggression, the suspensions of Caleb Martin and Nikola Jovic from Monday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors at FTX Arena were the first for a Heat player for an oncourt incident since forward James Johnson was suspended one game on Jan. 10, 2018 for an exchange of punches with Raptors center Serge Ibaka, who also was suspended.
In the interim, the NBA suspended then-Heat center Meyers Leonard for one week on March 11, 2021 for anti-Semitic comments made on social media, with the Heat issuing 17 games of suspensions to Dion Waiters in 2019-20 for team violations.
Martin was suspended by the NBA for “instigating” and “taunting” in his Saturday melee with Raptors rookie center Christian Koloko that spilled into the stands at FTX Arena. Jovic was suspended by the NBA for “leaving the bench area and entering the altercation.”
Martin had started the first three games of the season at power forward, stepping into that role after the offseason free-agency departure of P.J. Tucker to the Philadelphia 76ers in July.
Martin and Jovic are eligible to return for Wednesday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center, at the start of a three-game western swing.
Martin is in the first season of a three-year, $20.4 million contract, after playing last season at the NBA minimum in his first year with the Heat.
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said in light of the teams’ history, Saturday was not necessarily a surprise.
“Listen, they are very similar, very similar identities and approach to the game,” he said of the teams. “So I think every game we play is like mayhem one way or the other. Even when it feels normal, at some point in the game there is mayhem.”
Martin was apologetic after Monday’s shootaround, unable to be in the building later for the game.
“I knew they were going to look through something and find out the proper consequences, and I definitely don’t disagree with it,” he said.
“I felt bad that it happened. I was embarrassed last night, I was embarrassed the next morning about how I handle things because I pride myself on being more professional than that.”
Martin said he apologized to Koloko, who was fined $15,000 for the incident.
“Just letting him know I apologize and that’s not the way I carry myself and condone,” Martin said. “I don’t condone that type of stuff. Obviously, he was cool about it. We talked about it and he understands. He doesn’t hold anything against me. So as long as me and him are good and he understands where I’m coming from, I’m good.”
Jovic, the Serbian rookie, said he was unclear about the limits of leaving the bench for such an incident, with Martin saying their next dinner is on him.
Amy Audibert has been hired as Heat radio analyst and television studio analyst, replacing Ruth Hunter, who moved to a role on the team’s basketball-operations side.
A former team captain at the University of Miami, Audibert is coming off time as a courtside reporter and analyst for the Raptors.
“After already fulfilling a basketball dream in suiting up for the Miami Hurricanes, returning to Miami to cover the game that I love so much at the highest level is truly a full-circle story,” Audibert said.
A Niagara Falls, Ontario, native, Audibert began her broadcasting career providing color commentary for the University of Buffalo’s basketball teams for six seasons before joining the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream commentary team in 2019. She has worked the past three seasons with the Canadian Elite Basketball League as a courtside reporter and provided radio studio analysis for women’s basketball during the Tokyo Olympics. She has also called games for CBS Sports, NBA TV, ESPN Plus, The ACC Network Extra and Raycom Sports.
It turns out Jimmy Butler was correct when he criticized the officiating crew for calling him for traveling with 21.6 seconds left and the Heat up five in Saturday’s victory over the Raptors.
The league’s last-two-minute officiating report cited the ruling as an “incorrect call,”noting, “Butler (MIA) gathers the ball on his left foot and establishes his right foot as his pivot, which he maintains.”
Butler contended as much in the immediate wake of the game, when asked about the call from referee Tyler Ford.
“That’s not a travel,” he said. “I do that upstairs every day [on the practice court] before the game, working on my footwork. I cannot believe he called that.
“Tyler, it’s all good, man. But I was going to get a bucket if you didn’t call a travel.”