Jokic goes technical, tries to steal ball from Suns owner


PHOENIX (AP) — Denver Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic was charged with a technical foul in the second quarter of Sunday’s Game 4 after an altercation with Phoenix Suns owner Matt Ishbier.

Late in the second quarter, Suns Josh Okogi crashed into the sheet while trying to save a loose ball. He landed on a group of fans at the baseline, including Ishbia who grabbed a basketball.

Jokic was clearly trying to get the basketball quickly to allow the Nuggets to start an offensive possession when he tried to wrest the ball away from Ishbia. The ball flew backwards into the crowd and Ishubia was knocked backwards by Jokic’s elbow.

Jokic did not apologize after the game. The Suns won 129-124.

“The fans put their hands on me first,” Jokic said. “I thought the league was supposed to protect us. He could be wrong. I know who he is, but he’s a fan, right?”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, “[Jokic]is trying to get the ball, and there are fans holding the ball as if they want to be in the game. Please, man.

There were several minutes of confusion as officials sorted out a bizarre scene, and Jokic was assessed a technical foul. The Suns made the ensuing free throw.

Suns star Devin Booker, who had 36 points and 12 assists, said he knew Ishbia was in the middle of the chaos.

“He gave us points!” Booker said with a grin.

Ishbia told the Associated Press at halftime that he was “fine” and was more worried about the game than the argument. Tiff didn’t seem to mind Jokic either, the MVP runner-up scoring 53 points on 20-of-30 shooting.

Only a few months after Ishbia became Suns owner, he bought the team from a struggling Robert Thurber.

Game 5 takes place in Denver on Tuesday. The series is tied in two games each.


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