Ibaka suspended, DeRozan fined for altercations with Heat

Emotions got the better of Serge Ibaka and James Johnson during Tuesday’s game between the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat, and they will both have some time to think about what they did. The two players were ejected in the third quarter for trading punches while jostling for position on an inbounds pass, and the NBA added a one-game suspension to their punishment, as well as fining DeMar DeRozan $25,000 and Goran Dragic $10,000 for a verbal altercation after the game ended.

Both Ibaka and Johnson appeared to realize their error soon after throwing a punch, with Ibaka gesturing to feign innocence in an attempt to avoid being kicked out. Johnson, who is a former Raptor, posted an apology on social media before sitting out Miami’s Wednesday contest against the Indiana Pacers. Toronto will be without Ibaka on Thursday when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers, and his absence will be especially significant if Kyle Lowry is also not available for the Raptors.

Lowry suffered a back injury when he fell hard in overtime against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, and he missed the game against Miami, which Toronto lost 90-89. Lowry and Ibaka are the team’s second and third best scoring options behind DeRozan, and the possibility of both being out against LeBron James and the Cavaliers makes another defeat seem very likely. The Raptors also host the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday, and they could be looking at their first three-game losing skid since last February.

Toronto is three games behind the Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference lead, and losing key players to suspension is something the Raptors simply can’t afford against high-profile opponents like Cleveland, which embarrassed them in the playoffs last year. Tuesday’s loss to Miami was only Toronto’s second defeat in 16 home games, but the Raptors need their full roster to truly have home court advantage.