When Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic received a technical foul for his scuffle with Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia during Game 4 on Sunday, plenty of fans criticized the call. After all, Jokic appeared to be simply protecting himself after Ishbia touched him.
A lot of people also mocked Ishbia for flopping and selling the hit on him, making it look like Jokic used excessive force.
According to NBA referee and crew chief Tony Brothers, however, the unsportsmanlike technical foul on Jokic was warranted. While it might be true that Jokic was protecting himself, the fact remains that he engaged with the courtside fans.
“The ball went over into the corner there and one of the fans was holding the ball. Jokic came to get the ball, grabbed it away from the fan, then after that he deliberately gave him a shove and pushed him down, so he was issued an unsportsmanlike technical foul,” Brothers noted, via NBA.com.
When asked to explain why Nikola Jokic got the tech over any other punishment, Tony Brothers further noted the he deemed it was the appropriate response considering the situation,
“I just deemed the technical foul the appropriate penalty for what happened over there. He didn’t just run over and hit a fan. There was some engagement, so I deemed the technical foul the appropriate penalty,” Brothers added.
For what it’s worth, Jokic himself has addressed the situation and argued he was touched first. Jokic was simply trying to get the ball, and Mat Ishbia refused to give it and actually made it hard for him. When the Suns owner touched him, as seen in video replays, he simply responded with a light push.
It remains to be seen if Jokic will be further punished for his actions, though it will certainly be met with a wave of backlash if the NBA decides to suspend the big man as what many Suns fans are demanding.
The post NBA referee explains tech on Nuggets star Nikola Jokic after scuffle with Suns owner Mat Ishbia appeared first on ClutchPoints.