• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is kicked out of Game 4 for flagrant foul against Cameron Payne

·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was ejected from Sunday night's game for a flagrant foul against the Phoenix Suns' Cameron Payne.

The incident took place with 3:52 left in the third quarter of a season-ending 125-118 loss in Game 4 of the second-round playoff series in Denver.

Jokic, who was announced last week as the NBA's MVP, missed a shot and the Suns rebounded. Payne received a pass and Jokic tried to knock the ball out of his hands with a big downward swing, catching him in the nose.

Payne fell to the ground, and Jokic and the Suns' Devin Booker got into each other's faces as medical officials attended to Payne.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

“I wanted to change the rhythm of the game, I wanted to give us some energy,” Jokic said. “I tried to make a hard foul. Did I hit him? I didn’t know. I say sorry if I did because I didn’t want to injure him or hit him in the head on purpose.”

After a long video review, the referees called a Flagrant 2 foul against Jokic, with referees citing his "windup, impact and follow-through."

Jokic was ejected and a technical foul was called on Booker.

“I didn’t feel like it warranted a Flagrant 2 ejection because he’s making a play on the ball,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “There’s marginal contact to Cameron Payne’s nose, I believe. So, I was shocked. I’m still a little bit shocked that they called a Flagrant 2 and ejected the MVP on such a play.”

Payne stayed in the game. Jokic shook his hand on the way to the locker room.

Jokic finished the game with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

"We lose the MVP, it’s going to make it even harder to stave off elimination," Malone said. "The guys that were still in the game the last three of the third and the fourth quarter, tremendous effort, tremendous fight, which was great to see. We hung around."

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nuggets' Nikola Jokic ejected for flagrant foul against Suns