PHOENIX SUNS

Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic pushes Suns owner Mat Ishbia during Game 4

May 7, 2023, 6:11 PM | Updated: May 8, 2023, 10:11 am

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia sat courtside at Game 4 vs. the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, but he ended up closer to the action than normal.

The basketball landed in his lap during the second quarter on a loose ball.

Ishbia held it while checking on Suns wing Josh Okogie, who fell out of bounds during the play, and Nuggets star Nikola Jokic wanted the ball back.

Jokic attempted to strip it from Ishbia and pushed the team owner with his forearm.

Ishbia, sitting next to his friend and NBA Hall of Fame guard Isiah Thomas, threw his hands up and landed in his seat.

The owner quickly became the subject of praise and jokes online for selling the contact like a player looking for a foul.

After a review, Jokic was handed a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“I just deemed the technical foul the appropriate penalty for what happened over there,” crew chief Tony Brothers said in the pool report after the game. “He didn’t just run over and hit a fan. There was some engagement, so I deemed the technical foul the appropriate penalty.”

Brothers admitted that Jokic “deliberately gave him a shove and pushed him down.”

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone called it “crazy” that Jokic received a technical foul.

A separate fan was ejected from the game for putting his hands on Jokic during the sequence.

The Suns won Game 4 129-124, and Jokic finished with 53 points.

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