Jokic receives technical foul after altercation with Suns owner

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Nikola Jokic received technical foul after he pushed Phoenix Sun owner Mat Ishbia during Denver’s loss.

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic received a technical foul late in the second quarter of Game 4 on Sunday night following courtside incident that saw the player pushed Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia.

This happened when Jokic was trying to grab the ball for a play from Ishbia but appeared to push the Owen while doing do that.

This incident occurred with 2:36 remaining in the second quarter as Suns forward Josh Okogie went flying toward the courtside seats, where Ishbia sits across the baseline from the Phoenix bench.

Okogie was trying to keep the ball in play for the Suns when he landed in the seats near Ishbia, who ended up with the basketball in his hands. As Ishbia went to check on the Suns player, Jokic, as he often does during games, rushed over and went to grab the basketball quickly so the Nuggets could start their offensive possession.

As Jokic tried to take the ball away from Ishbia, it flew backward into the crowd. While Jokic stood there asking for the ball back from another fan, his left elbow made contact with Ishbia’s chest. Ishbia, a former Michigan State walk-on basketball player who was part of the 2000 national championship team, fell backward into his seat with his arms up and an incredulous look on his face.

Ishbia told The Associated Press at halftime that he was “fine” and more worried about the game than the altercation. He was back in his usual seats in the second half.

Referees and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon came over to make sure nothing got out of hand and that tensions did not flare up. Jokic, who finished with a game-high 53 points, was later handed a technical foul but remained in the game with the Nuggets leading 55-54.

Phoenix would go on to win by a final score of 129-124 to even the Western Conference semifinal series at two games apiece. Game 5 is Tuesday night.

After the game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he thought it was “crazy” that Jokic was assessed a technical foul in that situation.

“Going to get the ball, and some fan is holding onto the ball who wants be a part of the game. Just give the ball up, man,” Malone said.

When asked if he thought it made a difference that the fan in question was the Suns’ owner, Malone replied, “I don’t give a s—.”

Ishbia has been the Suns’ owner for only a few months after purchasing a controlling 57% stake from Robert Sarver for $2.28 billion.

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