Nuggets coach Michael Malone, center Nikola Jokić ejected from game vs. Pistons

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić reacts toward referee Tre Maddox and is ejected during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, on Nov. 20, 2023. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone and center Nikola Jokić were both ejected in the Nuggets’ game against the Detroit Pistons on Monday. In 15:13 minutes of action, Jokić had nine points, five rebounds and five assists.

Malone received two technical foul calls with 1:21 remaining in the first quarter. Media members covering the game suggested it stemmed from frustration with officials’ calls. At that time, the Pistons were leading 22-21.

Almost a full quarter later, Jokić joined Malone in the locker room. The two-time MVP was irritated with the lack of calls he was receiving. With 1:22 left in the half and Denver leading 51-50, referees sent Jokić to an early shower for complaining after a no-call.

Nuggets fans were far from the only people angered by the situation, and announcers in Detroit reportedly had strong words for the sequence of events.

The Nuggets came back to win 107-103 as Reggie Jackson (21 points) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20 points) led the way without Jokić.

After the game, Malone said he “apologized to my players at halftime. You never want to leave them out there.” Detroit head coach Monty Williams said after the ejection “it junked the game up on both ends.”

Denver had lost three of its last four games entering Monday and was playing without guard Jamal Murray, who is nursing a strained hamstring.

The Pistons are on a 12-game losing skid and hold the worst record in the NBA.

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