Adrian WojnarowskiVeteran NBA Insider2 minute reading
The NBA did not suspend Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic for Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns.
The league announced Monday it fined Jokic $25,000 for trying to retrieve the ball in the crowd in Game 4 of Suns owner Matt Ishbia, so he can play Tuesday night in Denver, but the series is tied 2-2. .
In the second quarter of Game 4 on Sunday night, Jokic was fouled with an elbow as he attempted to strip the ball from Ishbia, who was sitting courtside, and elbowed the Suns’ owner.
Ishbia took to Twitter on Monday morning to address the situation.
“Huge win for the Suns last night in an amazing series so far! That’s the only story,” Ishbia tweeted. “It wouldn’t be right to suspend or fine anyone for what happened last night. I have a lot of respect for Jokic and don’t want to see anything like that. Excited for Game 5! Go Suns!”
The brawl started when Suns guard Josh Okogie crashed into the seats while trying to save a loose ball. He landed on a group of fans on the baseline that included Ishbia, who hosted the basketball.
Jokic tried to get the ball quickly — ostensibly so the Nuggets could start their offensive possession — and he tried to wrestle it from Ishbia. The ball bounced back into the crowd and was then pushed back by Ishbia Jokic’s elbow.
Jokic defended his actions after a game in which he had 53 points and 11 assists.
“The fan got his hands on me first,” Jokic explained. “I thought the League would protect us. Maybe I was wrong. I know who they are, but he’s a fan. Isn’t he?”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Jokic “is going to get the ball, and some fans are holding onto the ball like he wants to be a part of the game.”
Information from ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and The Associated Press was used in this report.