Nikola Jokic sent the NBA world into a spin when he elbowed Phoenix owner Mat Ishbia in a scuffle during Game 4.
In the second quarter, Suns guard Josh Okogie made contact with the first row while trying to get the ball.
Ishbia grabbed the ball and Jokic was trying to retrieve it and in the process the big man elbowed the 43-year-old billionaire.
Jokic just shoved the owner of the suns 😳 pic.twitter.com/oQOyZDP1A1
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) May 8, 2023
The two-time MVP was dealt a technical for the elbow and Ishbia told AP at halftime that he was “fine”.
Naturally, Jokic was asked about the incident postgame, specifically what the ref told him when he got a tech and if he knew who he shoved.
“He [the ref] told me I was elbowing the fan but the fan put their hand on me first, so I thought the league supposed to protect us, so whatever but maybe I’m wrong, so we’ll see,” Jokic said.
“He’s sitting on the court, he’s a fan isn’t he? Whoever he is, he’s fan. He can’t influence the game holding the ball.
“They [the officials] can do whatever, of course, they don’t care but they’re supposed to protect the players.”
Nuggets Mike Malone thinks it was unfair that Jokic got a tech for what he did.
“I think it’s crazy that Nikola [Jokic] got a technical foul…,” Malone said. “He’s going to get the ball and some fan is holding onto the ball like he wants to be a part of the game….”
A reporter responded to Malone’s remarks by telling him: “The fan was the owner of the Suns.”
Malone responded by saying: “I don’t give a sh*t.”
TNT broadcasters just asked: Will Nikola Jokic be suspended for Game 5?
Team execs are wondering this too since the rule book says a player should be ejected for entering the stands. Jokic technically just went courtside so there’s room for interpretation. We’ll find out Monday. pic.twitter.com/8jBYdKgSOy
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 8, 2023
The Suns came away with a 129-124 win, largely thanks to 36 points each from Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, but Jokic had a huge game himself.
The big man recorded a career-playoff high of 53 points, four rebounds and 11 assists on 67 percent shooting from the field in the loss.
Jokic joins Wilt Chamberlain as the other only center in NBA history to score 50 points in a playoff game.
Booker didn’t seem too fazed by Jokic’s historic night, which saw his Suns team tie the series 2-2.
It’s a tough match-up,” Booker said postgame. “He’s [Jokic] either scoring or he’s getting his teammates involved or he’s doing both so every possession just try to hard on him, make it tough on him. I mean, he can have 50 all he wants as long as we get the win.”
The series will go to Game 5 to, where both teams get a chance to take a lead. The game will take place on Tuesday, May 9th 8:00PM MDT.