A curious rift between Denver star Nikola Jokic and Phoenix owner Mat Ishbia occurred in a game in the 2nd round of the NBA basketball playoffs. The Serbian pivot received a technical foul for her, which meant a point for the opponent. Jokic did not understand the verdict, the Suns won 129:124 thanks to it and leveled the series at 2:2.
The rift between Denver star Jokic and Phoenix owner Ishbia | Video: Associated Press
After one of the fights in the second quarter, the ball ended up among the spectators sitting close to the board. Jokič went for him so that he could quickly play another offensive action, but he ran into it. One of the fans didn’t want to give him the ball, so he started to wrestle with it, pushing him away with his elbow in the ensuing melee.
The referees gave him a technical foul for that and Phoenix got a point.
That fan was Suns owner Mat Ishbia. “The referee told me that I elbowed the fan. But he reached for me first,” Jokic defended himself after the match.
“I thought they were supposed to protect us, but I guess I was wrong,” he added bitterly.
He was immediately faced with the question of whether he knew who the fan was. “Yeah, I know who he is. But he’s a fan, right?” he answered with a question.
“When he’s sitting by the court, he’s a fan. Whoever he wants, he’s a fan at that moment and he can’t influence the game by holding the ball,” said Jokic, who set his 53rd personal record in the match.
“He reached out to me. So they’re not going to protect me? Are they going to protect the fan? I don’t think of me as a person. I mean as a player. They can do anything, of course they don’t care. But I think they should protect the players,” Jokic continued in complaints.
The Denver star was then asked by reporters if he was surprised that Ishbia didn’t just hand him the ball himself.
“When he didn’t do it, I was just trying to take the ball. And he didn’t let go. I think they should have taken him out when he was influencing the match like that,” said Jokic.
On the other hand, Phoenix player Devon Booker praised the behavior of his employer. “Our owner arranged a plus point for us,” laughed the top scorer of the playoffs, who added 12 assists to his 36 points in the match.
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