Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic will avoid a suspension after he made contact with Phoenix Suns team owner Mat Ishbia in an on-court altercation during Game 4 Sunday night.
Jokic was fined $25,000 for the incident. He will be ready for Game 5 after dropping 53 points in a loss as the Suns tied the series 2-2.
Ishbia tweeted on Monday that he did not think Jokic should have been fined or suspended.
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«Great win for the Suns last night in an incredible series so far!» wrote the billionaire. «That should be it and it’s the only story. Suspending or fining someone for last night’s incident would not be right. I have a lot of respect for Jokic and don’t want to see anything like that. Excited for Game 5! Go Suns!»
In the second quarter, Suns guard Josh Okogie crashed into the seats while trying to save a fumble. He landed in a group of fans on the baseline of the Footprint Center in Phoenix that included Ishbia, who grabbed the basketball.
Jokic was trying to get the ball back into play quickly. As he tried to take the ball from Ishbia, the ball bounced back into the crowd and Jokic appeared to push Ishbia to clear space for him. Ishbia exaggerated how hard Jokic pushed him and seemed to jerk back dramatically in his seat.
HEAT HOLD OFF KNICKS IN GAME 4, NEED A WIN TO REACH EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Jokic received a technical foul. The Suns won the game 129-124.
Denver coach Michael Malone joked Monday that Ishbia should have been disciplined for failing.
«I expected they would give him a load of failure,» Malone said. «That would probably be the only fine I could think of, but I have no idea.»
Jokic defended himself on Sunday night, saying that Ishbia was acting like a fan and put his hand on the two-time MVP first.
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«That’s not an owner in the stands. He’s a fan,» he said. «We don’t designate who’s in the stands. After seeing that whole incident, I just felt like Nikola was just trying to get the ball. I felt like the embellishment was almost comical, from my point of view.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.