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#pounditSunday, February 25, 2024

Did Cameron Payne get away with cheap shot on Nikola Jokic?

Nikola Jokic was hit in the groin by Phoenix Suns point guard Cameron Payne on Friday night, and there were some who felt Payne got away with a cheap shot. The officials did not view it that way.

Payne was playing defense on Jamal Murray in the fourth quarter of the Suns’ Game 3 win over the Denver Nuggets when Jokic went to set a screen on him. Payne’s left arm hit Jokic’s groin area and Payne was whistled for a foul.

It looked like Payne was about to fight his way through the Jokic screen and then changed directions. The play was reviewed, and officials did not upgrade the common foul to a flagrant. That seemed like the right call after the play was shown from multiple angles.

If you remember, Jokic was ejected for a hard foul on Payne in a playoff game two years ago (video here). Perhaps that was Payne’s way of returning the favor.

The Suns won the game 121-114. Denver now leads the series 2-1.

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