Nuggets' Nikola Jokic suspended for leaving bench during altercation

The Nuggets will be without star center Nikola Jokic against the Suns on Saturday as he serves a one-game suspension handed down by the NBA after he left the bench during an on-court altercation Wednesday against the Jazz.

Per a Friday release by the NBA, “Jokic’s close proximity to the altercation and aggressive manner created the potential for further escalation of the situation.”

The incident started when Denver’s Mason Plumlee and Utah’s Derrick Favors exchanged words and a couple shoves late in the first quarter of Utah’s eventual 114-108 win.

Plumlee was fined $25,000, while Favors was fined $15,000.

Jokic remained chippy throughout the night and nearly incited another incident in the second quarter when he and Jae Crowder went nose-to-nose after a Jokic bucket.

Jokic, who is expected to be named an All-Star reserve, is averaging 19.8 points and 10.3 rebounds this season.