Denver Nuggets center and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic has been assessed for a technical foul for making contact with Phoenix Suns owner Matt Ichpia during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Suns forward Josh Okoji sprinted through the crowd to put a shot that smashed into Ishpea’s hand. He grabbed the ball while the fans helped Okogie to his feet.
- Joki then tried to grab the ball from Ishbia, who was reluctant to give up the ball. The Nuggets center called him after the ball came free.
- A fan was removed from his seat for making contact with Jokic. Ichpia remained in his seat after the incident. The Suns issued a statement saying, “One of the attendees has been moved to de-escalate the situation.”
- The Suns defeated the Nuggets in Game 4, 129-124. The series is tied 2-2.
the athleteInstant Analysis:
Ishbia was sitting in his usual owner’s seats. Hall of Fame point guard and Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy” Isiah Thomas, who has been around Suns owner throughout the playoffs, sits to his right. Jokić wanted the ball so Denver could get in quickly, but Okogie was still trying to untangle himself from the crowd.
When Jokic received the ball, Ichveia seemed to try to hold onto it. The ball flipped back into the crowd. Jokic didn’t appreciate it. He looked at Ishbia and pushed him with his left elbow.
Eshpia, a former Michigan State basketball player, sold it and fell off his seat. The crowd booed. The officials revised the sequence and gave Jokić an unsportsmanlike technical foul. – Haller
Will Jokic be suspended or should he be stopped?
Being in this situation before, it’s the worst. Your team is about to play their biggest game of the season, and you don’t know if your superstar will be available. It happened to us in Memphis, when Zach Randolph was suspended in Game 7 against Oklahoma City in 2014, and now the Nuggets will be in a similar situation before Tuesday’s massive Game 5.
It’s likely that the league will take some time to judge this, but the schedule calls for a decision within 48 hours, realistically very early. They’ll definitely interview Jokić, Okogie, and others before making a decision, but at some point Joe Dumars’ office has to place a call. (And sure, Commissioner Adam Silver will have his finger on the scale here, too.)
Suns fans of a certain age are, of course, familiar with this, too. They were involved in perhaps the most influential Game 5 second-round suspension in NBA history in 2007, when Amari Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were suspended for a crucial game they eventually lost to San Antonio.
Will Nikola Jokic be suspended after his confrontation with Suns owner Matt Ishbala?
So what will happen? The first thing to start with is understanding that the NBA has taken a very strict stance on player interactions with opposing fans, something that goes back to the 2004 “Malice at the Palace” between Detroit and Indiana, and the overwhelming desire to never have that. until it repeats itself. That’s why even relatively benign irregularities – Putting a side ball gently into the crowd, let’s say – an immediate technical error was welcomed. What Jokic did enters a bit into a gray area, an area whose shade is likely determined by which of the two teams you support.
The rule is that players cannot enter the crowd, but Jokic was still on the hardwood when the Ishbija incident happened. In addition, he was not there to start playing for the crowd but instead to win the ball back and try to spark the transition the other way.
The other important piece here is that officials in the court reviewed the play and passed a judgment on it. The possibility of suspension increases when officials miss an overtaking during a match. In this article, the Tony Brothers principal, in his comments to a newspaper reporter, raised his eyes and deemed him unworthy of being fired.
“I considered the technical foul the appropriate penalty for what happened there,” Brothers said. “(Jokic) didn’t just run over and hit a fan. There was some melee, so I considered the technical foul the appropriate penalty.”
Based on all this precedent, and the fact that Jokic isn’t exactly in the Draymond Green/Marcus Morris area with regard to previous visits to the manager’s office, I think it’s more likely that he no hanging. But I can’t rule out that possibility either, especially after Green’s somewhat surprising Game 5 suspension in the first round.
I’m going to handicap that as a 1 in 3 chance of that happening. I also think it would be wrong if that happened, a totally exaggerated penalty for what was, at the end of the day, an innocuous part of the stage. – Hollinger
what are they saying
Jokic addressed the match after the incident.
“He (the referee) told me I was cheating on the fan, but the fan put his hands on me first,” said Jokic. “I thought the league was supposed to protect us. But maybe I’m wrong.”
“We get a point,” said Devin Booker. “He did his job there.”
“I didn’t even know what was going on,” said Suns coach Monty Williams. “It’s never my focus. I just saw a crowd out there. I was worried about the next play and making sure the guys don’t cross the line. I saw Jokić has technique and that was it.”
(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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