Good morning, folks. So do you remember when Donovan Mitchell dropped 57 points and lost? Well, I’ve got some bad news… Let’s talk NBA Bubble.
Jamal Murray’s 50 points not enough to beat Jazz in Game 4
Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell did something on Sunday night that has never been done in the history of the NBA Playoffs, becoming the first set of opponents to score at least 45 points against one another in a single playoff game. They even broke the record a bit further than that, as Murray poured in a career-high 50 points compared to Mitchell’s 51. Players inside the Bubble have been convinced that the empty atmosphere inside the arena helps create a more comfortable environment; a “shooter’s gym” if you will. After watching the Nuggets and Jazz light each other up for an entire fourth quarter that was almost entirely comprised of difficult one-on-one shots, I’m starting to agree.
But here’s the bad news. Similar to how Mitchell exploded for 57 points in a Game 1 loss to open the series, Murray’s 50 points weren’t enough to tie up the series at two games apiece. Instead, Utah was able to sneak out with a tightly contested 129-127 win to give them a 3-1 series advantage. Murray’s 50 points came on an unreal 9-15 mark from beyond the arc and a 18-31 clip overall. He also corralled 11 rebounds–a playoff career-high–to go along with seven assists and, most notably, zero turnovers. 18 of Murray’s 50 came in the fourth quarter alone.
After watching Murray go MIA for Games 2 and 3, it was incredibly refreshing to see him in attack mode for the majority of a 48-minute game. It’s no coincidence that when Murray scored a combined 26 points in Games 2 and 3 that the Nuggets lost by a combined 56 points. Remember, Murray dropped 36 in Game 1 that included another scoring spree down the stretch and his team won in overtime. Denver is at its best when Murray is always engaged on offense; on Sunday, he was, but Utah is on a different level right now, and its mainly thanks to MVP-caliber play from Mitchell.
Murray did set some Kentucky history, though. His 50 points are now the most ever by a former Kentucky player in an NBA Playoff game, according to Corey Price. The previous high was set by Anthony Davis back in 2018. Not bad company to be in.
Jamal Murray is the first former UK player to score at least 50 points in an NBA playoff game. The previous high for a former UK player in an NBA playoff game was 47 points by Anthony Davis on April 21st, 2018.
— Corey Price (@coreyp08) August 24, 2020
Luka Doncic is the next GOAT
I’m done pretending that Luke Doncic’s ceiling isn’t higher than we’ve ever seen in basketball. This isn’t hyperbolic; Doncic is going to be the best player this world has seen since the likes of LeBron James and Michael Jordan, if he isn’t already.
The Don went on a solo mission Sunday (star center Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out prior to the game) against the two-seeded Los Angeles Clippers, posting some of the dumbest numbers you’ll ever see in an NBA game, let alone in the postseason. The Dallas Mavericks 6-foot-8 point guard recorded 43 points on an 18-31 shooting clip to go along with 17 rebounds and 13 assists. EXCUSE ME? But you haven’t even heard the best part. Trailing 2-1 in the series and down two points in overtime, Doncic hit a step-back game-winning triple at the buzzer right in the face of Reggie Jackson that set NBA Twitter on fire.
LUKA CALLED GAME pic.twitter.com/g7URYgcAoE
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) August 23, 2020
Luka X Father Stretch My Hands pic.twitter.com/2DWwAIiLFC
— THIS LEAGUE (@thisleague) August 23, 2020
Luka is going to win MVP next year and I’ll go ahead and put money on it right now. Continue to side against him all you want, but he’s just going to keep proving you wrong. He is the future of the league and the next player that we will all one day consider for the title of the Greatest of all Time.
Other notes from the Bubble
- Sticking with Doncic and the Mavs for a second, I want to say a few things about a recent scuffle where Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell called Doncic a “bitch ass white boy”. Harrell was rightfully not suspended or fined for the incident and the two sides have already made up and moved past it. But it was the discourse surrounding the incident that was met with the exact kind of response I anticipated from a group of select individuals on social media. The one’s who say, that’s hypocritical! How is it not racist for Harrell to call Doncic a white boy? If the roles were reversed, it would be a different story! And to that, I have to say: well, duh? The reason that what Harrell said to Doncic shouldn’t be considered racist is because of the lack of negative connotation towards the term “white boy”. If Doncic were to call Harrell a “black boy”, a term that possesses highly racists undertones scattered across the past 300 years of American history, the situation would obviously be reversed and the conversation would be a lot different. Here’s the thing, I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve been called “white boy” while playing basketball. It is not a term that carries weight in our country. White people have not been oppressed in the same way that Black people in this country have. A white man calling a Black man “boy” is peak Jim Crow-era racism. A Black man calling a white man “boy” has zero historical context in the United States. And until people can understand that simple fact, we are going to continue having problems with racial inequality.
- Okay back to basketball. There were two sweeps out of the Eastern Conference on Sunday night, as the Celtics and Raptors won its first four games against the 76ers and Nets, respectively. Boston won Game 4 110-106, likely tearing down Philadelphia’s “Process”, as well. It’s beginning to look more and more likely that Philly fires head coach Brett Brown and reworks the entire roster excluding Joel Embiid and possibly Ben Simmons. As for the Raptors, they won Game 4 by a blistering final score of 150-122, never feeling threatened by the Nets at all. The Raptors and Celtics will now matchup in round two.
- Sunday would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42 birthday. Watch this tribute video and try not to cry.
“You could say I dared people to be their best selves.” pic.twitter.com/0yT59qgEkd
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 23, 2020
Series standings from Sunday
(2) Raptors sweep (7) Nets 4-0
(3) Celtics sweep (6) 76ers 4-0
(2) Clippers tied with (7) Mavericks 2-2
(6) Jazz lead (3) Nuggets 3-1
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||127-129 L @ UTA||50||18-31 (9-15)||11||7||0||1||0||+5||43|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||110-106 W @ PHI||6||3-6 (0-0)||5||1||0||0||0||+10||16|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (DAL)||135-133 (OT) W vs. LAC||3||0-3 (0-2)||3||0||0||0||0||+8||19|
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||133-135 (OT) L @ DAL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TODAY IN THE BUBBLE
1:30 (NBA TV): Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Magic [MIL leads 2-1]
4:00 (TNT): Rockets @ Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel) [HOU leads 2-1]
6:30 (TNT): Pacers @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro) [MIA leads 3-0]
9:00 (TNT): Lakers (Davis, Rondo: questionable) @ Trail Blazers (Gabriel) [LAL leads 2-1]