Game 4 of the NBA playoff series between the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns took a dramatic turn when Denver big man Nikola Jokic, the league's newly crowned MVP, was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 with 3:52 remaining in the third quarter and the Nuggets trailing the Suns by eight points.
Jokic took a wild swing at the Suns' Cameron Payne, hitting Payne across the face as he made a hard swipe to knock the ball loose. The foul came after Jokic didn't get a call on a one-handed runner, as he briefly glanced over at a referee and gestured.
Suns star Devin Booker immediately confronted Jokic, as the teams briefly scuffled before being separated.
After he was ejected, Jokic appeared to apologize to Payne.
Folks quickly weighed in on social media, with NBA stars Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies among those who felt the ejection was too harsh, particularly in an elimination game. Denver was down 3-0 in the series entering Sunday night's Game 4, and Phoenix completed the sweep with a 125-118 decision.
playoffs. elimination game. give him a flagrant 1 and play ball man .— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) June 14, 2021
A Flagrant 2 ?? Wow.— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 14, 2021
They really just kicked this man out the game...!? Wow? #Jokic— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) June 14, 2021
Joker look scary like the real joker lol ... like he got a couple hit man the way he look at booker ...— Nick Young (@NickSwagyPYoung) June 14, 2021
league soft ..— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) June 14, 2021
Stiil can't believe they ejected— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) June 14, 2021
MVP Jokic for hitting a ball real hard
There were some who backed the ejection, including New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, who we should point out is from Arizona and a Suns fan.
Get him outta there!!!! Smh hate to see it... 😈 #RallyTheValley— cameron jordan (@camjordan94) June 14, 2021