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Butler among 4 ejected after fracas between Heat, Pels

Sean Gardner / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Things quickly turned up a notch in the fourth quarter of Friday's matchup between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans.

Less than one minute into the final frame, Heat veteran Kevin Love bear-hugged Pelicans star Zion Williamson as the latter attempted a shot, igniting a scuffle between both clubs.

Cooler heads seemed to prevail moments later, but tempers flared again when New Orleans big man Jonas Valanciunas took an apparent swing at Miami center Thomas Bryant.

Jimmy Butler appeared to provoke Naji Marshall with a push. The Pelicans forward then responded by grabbing the Heat star's neck.

Butler and Marshall continued to exchange words as teammates and coaches kept both players apart.

"I put my hand around his neck. He put his hand around my neck, and it just took off the way it did," Butler told reporters following the contest, per Bally Sports Sun.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra also weighed in on the scuffle postgame.

"You never want to see that," Spoelstra said, according to Brett Martel of The Associated Press. "Once it was all done, the response was appropriate - discipline, physicality, force, but not going over the top."

Butler, Bryant, Marshall, and Pelicans reserve Jose Alvarado were all ejected from the game.

Love was handed a common foul on the play.

"It was just, I think, a misunderstanding of the play," Spoelstra said. "I think Zion slipped on the play when (Love) grabbed him and it looked a lot worse than what it was. And then everybody kind of overreacted.

"I think they interpreted that (Love) threw (Williamson) down. On (Love's) best day, I don't think he could throw him down."

Miami eventually prevailed 106-95 for their fifth victory in six games.

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