After missing a floater and becoming frustrated with what appears to be a missed call underneath the basket, Jokić took out his frustrations on Cameron Payne, who had collected the rebound on the baseline. Jokić committed a foul, hit Payne in the face in the process, and a scuffle ensued as Devin Booker rushed to defend his teammate. Rightly so.
Jokić attempted to commit a frustration foul, but as the referees alluded to, the windup, velocity of the swing, and contact to the face of Payne was enough to assess a Flagrant 2 to Jokić. Despite Jokić appearing to go for the basketball, he gave enough reason to be ejected.
It’s disappointing to see frustrations boil over in this manner, and it’s disappointing that it was Jokić who committed the act. The Nuggets are in a difficult spot, being down 3-0 in the series against the Suns after some painful games to watch. The Suns have been better than the Nuggets in every sense, and without Jokić, it would be surprising if the Nuggets could make a comeback.
The Nuggets currently trail the Suns in the fourth quarter with their season hanging in the balance. If the last act of Jokić’s MVP year is a Flagrant 2 and subsequent ejection, that would be a very disappointing way for the season to end.