For one reason or another, NBA players getting hit in the nuts seems to be at an all-time high during the 2023 playoffs. On Friday night during Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns, Nikola Jokic became the latest player to have to deal with a shot below the belt.
Jokic came up to set a screen on Cameron Payne, who was guarding Jamal Murray. Nothing unusual happened here — Payne ran into Jokic, while Murray decided to go to his left instead of using the screen — but as Payne bumped into the former NBA MVP, his left arm got acquainted with Jokic’s groin, which led to the big fella hitting the deck in some serious pain.
Interestingly, unlike some other nut shots we’ve seen this postseason, Payne benefitted from this getting reviewed by the officials. Prior to this getting reviewed, Payne was hit with a technical foul for the contact with Jokic. But after the review, that ended up getting rescinded, and Payne was only called for a personal foul on Murray for the contact that happened after he ran into Jokic. Regardless of the penalty, we must insist that NBA players stop hitting each other below the belt.