PHOENIX — (AP) — Denver Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic was assessed a technical foul in the second quarter of Game 4 on Sunday after an altercation with Phoenix Suns owner Matt Ishbia.
Jokic was trying to get the basketball quickly - apparently so the Nuggets could start their offensive possession - when he tried to strip the ball away from Ishbia. The ball bounced back into the crowd and then was knocked back by Isbia Jokic's elbow.
Jokic was unapologetic after the game, which the Suns won 129-124. "The fans hit me first," Jokic said. "I thought the league was supposed to protect us. Maybe I'm wrong. I know who he is, but he's a fan. Right?
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said: “(Jokic) is going to get the ball and some fans are holding the ball like he wants to be part of the game. Just drop the ball, man."
"He's got us a point!" Booker said with a smile. Ishbia told The Associated Press at halftime that he was "good" and more worried about the game than the brawl. He returned to his usual seat in the second half. The altercation didn't seem to bother Jokic either - the MVP runner-up finished with 53 points on 20-of-30 shooting.
Ishbia has only owned the Suns for a few months, buying the team from the embattled Robert Sarvar. Game 5 is Tuesday in Denver. The series is tied in both matches.