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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic makes up with Suns’ owner after sideline shove: ‘Hoping he was gonna pay my fine’

Nikola Jokic couldn’t stay mad at Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia for long. 

The two-time MVP was fined $25,000 on Monday for making “improper contact with a spectator sitting courtside” after attempting to retrieve the ball from Ishbia during Denver’s Game 4 loss. 

A fan holds a sign for Nikola Jokic

A fan holds the sign of Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets during the Western Conference semifinal playoff at Ball Arena in Denver on Friday, May 9, 2023. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Jokic gave Ishbia an elbow during the second quarter of Game 4, sending Ishbia back into his courtside seat. 

NUGGETS DOMINATE GAME 5 AGAINST SUNS TO TAKE SERIES LEAD

Prior to the start of Game 5 in Denver, Jokic made sure to let Ishbia know that no hard feelings lingered, having a little fun with the owner of the Suns.

“I don’t have nothing against him,” the Serbian center said after the game. “I would do the same thing if it was anybody else… If you guys follow, that’s what I like to do. I like to inbound the ball really quick, just get advantage, and keep the game going. I just wanted to make fun at least a little bit. 

“And I was hoping he was going to pay my fine, but no.”

Suns owner Mat Ishbia sits courtside during the Los Angeles Clippers game at Footprint Center game on April 25, 2023, in Phoenix. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports)

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It was all fun and games prior to Game 5 and the Nuggets had a blast during the game, taking a 3-2 series lead with a 118-102 victory. 

Jokic had a monster night, scoring 29 points while grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out 12 assists. 

It was the 10th postseason triple-double for Jokic, passing Wilt Chamberlain for fifth all-time. 

Nikola Jokic plays in Game 5

Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets reacts to a turnover during the Phoenix Suns game at Ball Arena in Denver on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

“I mean, to be honest, I just like to win the game,” Jokic said of whether he prefers trying to beat a team with a triple-double or scoring, according to ESPN. “So whatever it takes. I open the game today, I think really badly, maybe I was forcing it.

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“And then I just slow it down, relax and let the game come to me. It’ll come to me and that happens.”

The series heads back to Phoenix for Game 6 on Thursday. 

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