Denver's All-Star center and newly crowned NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic was ejected from Game 4 of the Nuggets' series against the visiting Phoenix Suns for a flagrant foul 2 call with 3:52 left in the third quarter.
With the Nuggets down 83-75 and trailing in the series 3-0, Jokic apparently was frustrated at not drawing a foul on a 12-foot jumper.
After the Suns' Mikal Bridges grabbed the rebound and passed the ball out along the baseline to Cameron Payne, Jokic lunged toward Payne smacked both the ball and Payne in the face.
Payne went down on the court, causing Suns star Devin Booker to confront Jokic after the play, as players from both teams quickly separated Jokic and Booker.
After several minutes down on the court, Payne stayed in the game and hit both free throws from the flagrant foul. Officials cited the "windup, impact and follow-through" for the flagrant 2 foul, requiring an ejection, as opposed to a flagrant 1.
Jokic finished the night with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes. In his sixth season in the NBA, all with the Nuggets, he averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists.
The third-seeded Nuggets defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs in seven games.