The NBA playoffs are heating up, and with tensions running high, it’s not uncommon for players, coaches, and even team owners to get into heated exchanges on the court. However, during Game 4 of the Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns series, it was the Nuggets’ star player, Nikola Jokic, who found himself in hot water after shoving the Suns’ owner, Mat Ishbia. The incident has sparked controversy and speculation about whether or not Jokic will be suspended for Game 5 and has left fans wondering what the future holds for the reigning MVP and his team.
Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic elbows Phoenix Suns’ owner Mat Ishbia on the sidelines
With less than three minutes left in the second quarter, the ball went out of bounds and directly into the stands. Coincidentally, it went to the hands of Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia. Nikola Jokic ran down quickly to retrieve the ball, only for it to be deprived to him by Ishbia. In the heat of the moment, Jokic shoves Ishbia after the latter refuses to give the ball to the former.
The All-Star center received a technical foul from the referees but was not ejected. Mat Ishbia also stayed in the courtside. After the game, Nikola Jokic sounded on the altercation with the Suns’ owner. In his defense, he said the fan (referring to Ishbia) touched him first. In his statement, he specified that Ishbia is still a “fan” since he is sitting courtside.
“The fan put a hand on me first. I thought the league was supposed to protect us. Maybe I’m wrong.”
Nikola Jokic on his interaction with Suns owner Mat Ishbia. pic.twitter.com/9z1vhsgBsC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 8, 2023
Will Nikola Jokic be suspended in Game 5?
Questions have risen if the NBA should suspend Nikola Jokic in Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns. According to the NBA rule book, any member of any team (player, coach, trainer, or any bench personnel) will be automatically ejected if they are “deliberately entering the stands other than as a continuance to play”. Well, in Game 4, Jokic did enter that part of the court, but he was only given a technical foul.
TNT broadcasters just asked: Will Nikola Jokic be suspended for Game 5?
Team execs are wondering this too since the rule book says a player should be ejected for entering the stands. Jokic technically just went courtside so there’s room for interpretation. We’ll find out Monday. pic.twitter.com/8jBYdKgSOy
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 8, 2023
While the NBA announced that they would review the play, there is still a high chance that Nikola Jokic could be suspended for at least one game. Not only that, but he could also be asked to pay fines of some sort. In what could be a crucial deciding game in the semi-final round of the 2023 Playoffs, everything is at stake for the Denver Nuggets and the two-time MVP.
If Jokic gets suspended in Game 5, what could this mean to the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns?
Even though the Nuggets lost against the Suns (129-124), Jokic went wild by putting up 53 massive points while also dishing out 11 assists. Despite his monstrous efforts, his team fell short against Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, who had 36 points apiece.
Nikola Jokic sets the @nuggets record for points in a Playoff game in Game 4 👏
PHX/DEN Game 5 | Tues, 10pm/et | TNT pic.twitter.com/i952K7gdpe
— NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2023
Now, if Jokic ever gets suspended in Game 5, that would mean a disaster for Denver
With the Serbian superstar sideline, they would be left with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., who, by the way, has been very inconsistent so far. Mind you, Jokic is averaging 30.8 points, 9.2 assists, and 13.1 rebounds in this year’s playoffs. Without him on the court, that would spell catastrophe for the Nuggets and an automatic victory for the Phoenix Suns.
On the other hand, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant are two unstoppable scoring machines for which the Nuggets don’t have an answer. Kevin Durant is still MVP-esque, and Booker has the best playoff run of his career. Aside from these two, Landy Shamet has become the unsung hero in the playoffs. That being said, the Suns will torch the Nuggets alive if the NBA decides to suspend Jokic in Game 5.
The Suns and Nuggets will meet again for Game 5 on Tuesday (10 P.M Eastern Standard Time) in Denver. The series is currently tied at 2-2, and both teams are looking to get a headstart to decide which team advances to the Western Conference Finals.
Do you think the NBA will suspend Nikola Jokic? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us here at Spiel Times.
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