Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic ejected in third quarter vs. Phoenix Suns

(NBA Getty Images)

Nikola Jokic's Game 4 ended early after the Denver Nuggets center was ejected late in the third quarter.

The recently crowned MVP was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul - his first in the past three seasons - with 3:52 remaining in the period and his team trailing 83-75.

Jokic swiped at Suns guard Cameron Payne, catching him across the face as he attempted to steal the ball, with Jokic and Devin Booker exchanging words as the pair had to be separated by teammates.

"I wanted to change the rhythm of the game, I wanted to give us some energy, maybe change the whistle a little bit, so I wanted to make a hard foul," Jokic said post-game. "Did I hit him, did I not hit him? We don't know. So I say sorry if I did because I did not want to injure him or hit him in the head on purpose."

With the officials deeming it 'unnecessary and excessive contact', Jokic was ejected from the game, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

"I thought honestly they would not eject me," Jokic said.

The Nuggets made a late rally in the fourth quarter, before going down 125-118 as Jokic became just the fifth MVP ever to be swept in a playoff series, joining Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wes Unseld.

"I just 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."

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from

On This Date: Harden's masterclass vs. Hawks
Yash Matange
From the driveway to the NBA: Lonzo and LaMelo face off
Kyle Irving
Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.
Report: Porter Jr. to undergo back surgery
Scott Rafferty
LA Clippers star Paul George building a strong MVP case
PG putting together strong MVP case
Benyam Kidane
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Is this the best version of Curry we've ever seen?
Nick Metallinos
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are spending time at the five for the Los Angeles Lakers
Will the LeBron at center experiment work?
Kane Pitman
More News