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Nikola Jokic was sent off and the Nuggets were swept by the Suns



The Denver Nuggets did not recover from the firing of Nikola Jokic as they suffered a sweep in their second round series against the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns won game four of the series 125-118 to advance to the Western Association Finals.

The game was hotly contested as the Nuggets managed to close the gap in the third quarter. With the score at 83-75 Suns, Jokic tried to steal the ball from Cameron Payne. However, the momentum he gained with his arm caused him to hit his rival in the face and a short scrum ensued.

The officials reviewed the play on video replay and ruled that the NBA’s Most Valuable Player of the season deserved a flagrant foul 2, which resulted in his automatic ejection from the game. In 28 minutes on the court, the Nuggets center had amassed 22 points and 11 rebounds.

“I didn’t want to hurt him or hit him in the head,” Jokic said.

I don’t think there was any bad intent, but I think it was frustration,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone. Nikola may have thought the other team should have been fouled in the last few games, and he made that play to see a foul called, as he often does. ”

“A lot of players do that,” the coach recalled.

The Suns took advantage of his absence to widen the gap later as they closed the quarter with a 96-83 lead. The Nuggets pulled to within four points in the fourth quarter, but Phoenix held on to the lead as Chris Paul delivered the coup de grace with an 11-point lead with less than three minutes remaining.

The 36-year-old Paul carried his team on his shoulders with an impressive 37 points of his own. Teammate Devin Booker also chipped in with 34 points and 11 rebounds. Jae Crowder made his presence felt under the basket with 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Will Barton finished his night with 25 points for the Nuggets who were also without Jamal Murray who was injured during the season.

The Suns recorded their seventh straight win after winning the last three games of their first round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Suns will face the winner of the series between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers in the third round. The Jazz lead the matchup 2-1 with game four set for Monday night.

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