Nikola Jokic put together an unbelievable MVP season for the Denver Nuggets, but unfortunately it ended on a sour note. Jokic was ejected during Denver’s 125-118 Game 4 loss to the Phoenix Suns after striking guard Cameron Payne in the face on a hard swipe at the ball. With the win, the Suns swept the series and advanced to the Western Conference finals, while the Nuggets were eliminated from the playoffs.
With just under four minutes left in the third quarter, Jokic was assessed a flagrant foul, penalty two — which comes with an automatic ejection. It appeared that Jokic was frustrated and took a hard swipe at the ball, but made contact with Payne’s face in the process. The officials deemed that there was wind-up, excessive contact and follow-through, which led to the ejection.
Jokic headed to the locker room with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists on 9-for-17 shooting. The Nuggets put up a valiant effort in the second half behind Will Barton and Michael Porter Jr., but they just couldn’t muster enough offense to keep up with the Suns with Jokic out of the equation.
Phoenix dominated this series, but Jokic had a memorable playoff run with six games of 32 points or more, a triple-double and five double-doubles. It’s a shame Jokic didn’t get to finish his team’s final game, but it’s safe to say the Nuggets would have struggled to come back in this series either way.