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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic thrown out as tempers flare in Game 4 vs. Suns

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) argues for a call with referee Rodney Mott (71) in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA second-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

PHOENIX — The Denver Nuggets lost their most impactful player in a crucial Game 4 of the conference semis against the Phoenix Suns Sunday as league MVP Nikola Jokic was tossed following a flagrant-two foul in the third quarter.

With Phoenix up 83-75 with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Jokic wound up and slapped the ball out of Cam Payne’s hands.

In the process, Jokic made contact with Payne’s face.

Payne went to the ground and stayed down for some time.

Devin Booker then went over and bumped Jokic, with the two having to be separated.

It was determined by the referees there was a windup, impact and follow-through by Jokic, necessitating the flagrant-two and resulting in the big being tossed from the contest.

Prior to leaving the floor, Jokic went over and appeared to apologize to Payne.

Booker was also given a technical foul.

Jokic ended the game with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes.

The Suns ended up winning 125-118 and swept the Nuggets, advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

Phoenix will take on either the Los Angeles Clippers or Utah Jazz in the next round of the NBA Playoffs.

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