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Reactions from around the NBA for Mat Ishbia-Nikola Jokic incident

Just a bizarre situation.

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Mat Ishbia
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Suns owner and former Spartan hoops walk-on Mat Ishbia was pushed by Nikola Jokic on Sunday night and Twitter exploded.

I’m still stunned at what I saw near the end of the first half of Sunday night’s Western Conference Semifinals game between the Suns and Nuggets. Nikola Jokic put a forearm into the chest of Suns owner Mat Ishbia in the stands after one of his Phoenix players dove into the stands for a loose ball.

It wasn’t the most egregious forearm shove that I’ve ever seen, but it was enough to set the internet on fire. Even the announcers thought it was bizarre.

For me, it was one of the top three most bizarre NBA moments I’ve witnessed.

Ishbia, catching the ball after Josh Okogie dove out of bounds, was helping his player up with the ball under his right arm before Jokic sprinted over and tried to grab it while he wasn’t looking. Mat took exception to that and tried to get Jokic to back off before Nikola gave him the forearm shove (followed by a well-executed Ishbia flop).

The incident led to a technical foul on Jokic and it was basically forgotten for the remainder of the game.

After the game, both Michael Malone and Jokic said that it was a warranted shove and “the fan” shouldn’t have put his arm on Nikola. Yet Jokic was the initial aggressor.

Both referred to Ishbia as a “fan” which likely means they hadn’t been alerted of the potential severity of the incident. Pushing an NBA owner probably won’t sit well with the league.

The reactions from around the NBA are essentially calling for Jokic to be treated the same way that Draymond Green and Dejounte Murray were when they were both suspended for a game. Draymond “stomped” on Domantas Sabonis and Murray bumped a ref after a loss.

Do you agree with some of these reactions?

Jokic weighed in and said the league did a poor job of protecting players.

What a wild situation that the Spartan owner is involved in. We’ll find out on Monday if the league is willing to punish Jokic further.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.

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