Basketball has changed a lot throughout the years, and so have its rules and the way the referees call the game.
What would be just a hard, basketball foul 10 or 15 years ago is now deemed a flagrant one, and what would be a flagrant one back in the day is now a cause of ejection.
That's what happened last night when Nikola Jokic took a hard swipe at Cameron Payne. He was frustrated and it seemed like he wanted to hurt him, but it was still a basketball foul.
Jokic - and most fans - never thought that the refs would eject the reigning MVP at home on a potential elimination game with 3 minutes left in the third quarter but they were wrong. They deemed that play a flagrant two foul and sent the Joker to hit the showers early.
Needless to say, multiple personalities around the league didn't care for that foul call, with players like Ja Morant or Trae Young saying that they should just let them play and that the league has gone soft:
While we also think that calling it a flagrant two was a bit of an overreaction, Jokic should've known better. He's never been known for being a dirty player, but he made a mistake by putting his fate in the referees' hands.
The officials also need to get it together and establish a truly objective criterion as to what is a flagrant one or flagrant two foul. We've seen harder hits in the playoffs that go completely unnoticed.
We're talking about the postseason. Tensions are at an all-time high and physicality goes up a notch, it's always been like that. Jokic made a mistake, but the referees pretty much killed the game -and the Denver Nuggets season - with that soft call.