Nuggets Star Nikola Jokic Beefs With Suns Owner After They Make Contact In Stands

The two-time NBA MVP was hit with a technical after he tried to retrieve the ball from Mat Ishbia, who appeared to put up a struggle and then flopped.

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic didn’t mince words about Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia after the two made contact in the stands during a second-round playoff game between the two teams on Sunday.

In a postgame press conference, the two-time NBA MVP accused the rival team’s owner of “influencing the game” during a charged moment in the stands where Jokic went to retrieve an out-of-bounds ball and appeared to knock over Ishbia. Jokic was slapped with a technical foul.

The incident occurred after Suns forward Josh Okogie fell while chasing the ball into the stands. Jokic went to retrieve the ball from Ishbia, who picked it up from his courtside seat and appeared reluctant to give it up.

In the struggle, the ball then flew into the hands of another fan. As Ishbia inched closer to Jokic while he tried to get the ball, the player’s forearm made contact with the team owner and Ishbia fell into his seat, arms flailing.

The Suns went on to take Game 4 and tied up the series.

In the press conference later, Jokic said an official told him he was “elbowing the fan” ― the fan being Ishbia ― but claimed Ishbia put his hands on him first.

“I thought the league is supposed to protect us,” Jokic said. “He’s influencing the game, I think he’s supposed to get kicked out.”

Nuggets coach Mike Malone also criticized the “crazy” call.

“He’s going to get the ball, and some fan is holding on to the ball like he wants to be a part of the game,” Malone said.

“The fan was the owner of the Suns,” a reporter said.

“I don’t give a shit,” Malone replied.

Ishbia’s move appeared to delight Suns star Devin Booker, who crowed that it got his team “a point.”

“He did his job over there,” he added.

It’s unclear what action the league will take in response to the altercation, but a number of Twitter users had their own opinions on Ishbia’s “flop.”

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