Nuggets’ star center Nikola Jokic was ejected from Denver’s Game 4 matchup with the Phoenix Suns in their Western Conference semifinal series, Sunday night. Jokic was tossed for hitting Suns guard Cameron Payne in the face.

The ejection was issued late in the third quarter of the game with the Suns leading 83-75. After striking Payne in the face while reaching for the ball, Jokic was issued a flagrant 2 and automatically ejected.

Jokic appeared to apologize to Payne after the play.

Nikola Jokic, Ejection
Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went off on the refs’ decision on Twitter during the game.

“This is the damn problem with the @NBA right now.. you do not make that call vs Jokic a FLAGRANT2. The swipe was a frustration foul. We’ve seen worse. The fans do not attend games for this kind of call. You’ve EJECTED the league-MVP. You don’t do this.#Unreal.”

“I’m turning the channel away from @NBAonTNT. No sense in even watching the rest of this game. You don’t EJECT the league-MVP on a play like that. That’s the league completely ignoring fan’ interest. You just don’t do this. See y’all on @FirstTake and Stephen A’s World tomorrow.”

[Via]