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BBNBA: Jamal Murray is blossoming into a star right before our very eyes

(@nuggets)

(@nuggets)

Good morning, folks. Jamal Murray, everyone. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.

RECAP

Jamal Murray saves the Nuggets, force Game 6 against Jazz

It’s going to be hard to put into words what we all witnessed from Denver Nuggets ‘point gawd’ Jamal Murray on Tuesday night, but I’m going to try my best. Here we go…

The former Kentucky Wildcat put together arguably the most important outing of his still-young career, carrying his Nuggets team down the stretch to force a Game 6 against the Utah Jazz. Murray poured in 42 points on the evening, 33 of them coming in the second half alone, sparking a massive run by Denver that allowed them to keep the series alive.

On the surface, 33 points in a single half is insane. It’s even more ridiculous when you consider he’s now done it twice this series, joining James Harden, Allen Iverson, and Russell Westbrook as the only such players do that throughout an entire playoffs. Murray has now done it twice in six games. But it was how Murray scored his 33 second-half points that have me on the brink of being convinced he’s taken another leap. When I tell you he could not miss even if he wanted to, I mean it. Murray hardly stared down the basket on half of his shots, simply catching and firing from wherever he received the ball or had an inch of breathing room. His night was highlighted by this gravity-defying 360-layup that I’m pretty sure is illegal in at least 20 different states.

Like… How?

But let’s take Murray’s night even a step further. He also added eight rebounds and eight assists to his stat line while turning the ball over a whopping ZERO times despite playing 41 minutes. He shot 17-26 from the floor overall and hit on a 4-8 clip from deep. In back-to-back games now, Murray has combined to drop 92 points, 19 rebounds, 16 assists, and ZERO FREAKING TURNOVERS. When Denver’s back has been against the wall, it’s been Murray, not necessarily All-Star center Nikola Jokic, who has brought his team back to life. With the game tied at 101, Murray scored the next nine points for Denver to eventually secure the win. He also played the entirety of the second half. The Nuggets have been desperate for Murray to hit another gear–the next five years of the franchise depends on it–and it would appear he’s doing so at the perfect time.

I am going to say one negative thing, though. It’s becoming painfully clear that this Nuggets team at its current construction is at it’s best when Murray is in all-out attack mode. He didn’t switch that flip until his team was down 15 points in the third quarter. For Denver to advance deep into the playoffs, they need near-perfect outings from both Murray and Jokic. When that happens, they win nine times out of ten, but if one of them lags behind, there hasn’t been another guy on the team who has proven they can make up for that lost production. Michael Porter Jr. is fantastic when he’s shooting, but a massive liability literally everywhere else. He’s only scored a combined 31 points in the last three games.

I’ll end my thoughts on Murray with this, and it’s an opinion shared by his head coach Michael Malone. It’s not often you find a player who thrives when the lights are brightest, but that appears to be just what Murray craves. He loves when the pressure is on; he thrives under it.

“Jamal embraces the moment,” Malone said after the game. “He’s not afraid of it. Some people run away from those moments. He looks for them. And without Jamal Murray’s play, and not even just the points, but his attitude, that swagger, that confidence. That is contagious to all of our other players.”

Onto Game 6…

Other notes from the Bubble

  • The Los Angeles Clippers came out and absolutely smoked the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 as Paul George finally broke out of his slump to drop 35 points in a Game 5 win for the Clips. L.A. took a 3-2 series lead following the 154-111 blowout. After drilling the game-winning shot in Game 4, Luka Doncic was held to just 22 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Dallas was without star center Kristaps Porzingis for the second consecutive game, as well.
  • There was some slight controversy toward the end of this game, after Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. was seen stepping on the already-injured ankle of Doncic–and it didn’t exactly look like an accident, either.

  • There are plenty of other angles, so I’ll let you all be the judge. But just from looking at Morris’ track record and how long he’s been in the league, this hardly feels coincidental.
  • The mood across the Bubble has been that of dejection over the last 24-plus hours, as players and coaches are still trying to process the emotions of the tragic shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back by the police, that happened this past weekend in Kenosha, Wisconsin. There have been rumblings of potentially boycotting games from the Toronto Raptors, who are wondering out loud if now is the right time to continue playing basketball. A similar sentiment was shared throughout the course of Tuesday’s games, as Michael Malone and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers gave some passionate and heartfelt thoughts on the situation. I’ll post both of their conversations below and I would encourage everyone to watch, particularly Rivers, who was on the verge of tears and clearly frustrated.

Everything about this sucks. The players can’t be expected to make a significant change while trapped in a Bubble, and, as Jaylen Brown poignantly pointed out, 23-year olds shouldn’t be the ones with the pressure to make the change in the first place. It’s awkward listening to players and coaches say all of these things, then watch them go play basketball as if it never happened, but there aren’t many other options right now. The best way I can describe this situation is with one word: frustrating.

Series standings from Tuesday

WEST

(2) Clippers lead (7) Mavericks 3-2
(6) Jazz lead (3) Nuggets 3-2

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Jamal Murray (DEN)117-107 W vs. UTA4217-26 (4-8)88100+2041
Patrick Patterson (LAC)154-111 W vs. DAL93-3 (3-3)12000+125
Michael KIdd-Gilchrist (DAL)111-154 L @ LAC31-6 (0-4)01110-914

TONIGHT IN THE BUBBLE

4:00 (NBA TV): Magic @ Bucks (Bledsoe) [MIL leads 3-1]

6:30 (TNT): Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel) @ Rockets [Series tied 2-2]

9:00 (TNT): Trail Blazers (Gabriel) @ Lakers (Davis, Rondo: questionable) [LAL leads 3-1]

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

18 Comments for BBNBA: Jamal Murray is blossoming into a star right before our very eyes



  1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    12:04 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

    No concern for the 2 people killed and all the black owned businesses burned to the ground in Kenosha?



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      12:08 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      “Police: K9 Dozer Helps Subdue Man (Jacob Blake in 2015) Who Pulled Gun at Bar”
      https://racinecountyeye.com/police-k9-dozer-helps-subdue-man-who-pulled-gun-at-bar/

      So this isn’t his first time resisting arrest while having a gun in the car (after having threatened someone with said gun in a bar in this instance). Facts matter people.



    • UKBigBlueForever
      12:42 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      +1 for Chris. I’m sick of the media spinning this sh*t into nothing but BLM. Why was there rioting to begin with? Why would he have been out there with his kids!!???



    • tybuki
      12:20 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      The 2 people killed were at the hands of a 17 year old white man from Illinois.



    • tybuki
      1:15 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      Because he was there trying to stop a fight between two women he knew. The cops show up and run a report on him and find out he has an open warrant (not sure why they needed to run it). Apparently he was tased (not sure why) but wasn’t subdued; he didn’t want to be taken in in front his children so he goes to his car. The cops then try to physically pull on his shirt, he stumbles and the cops proceed to open fire.
      The protests turned violent when shots were fired and the police appeared not to restrain the shooter immediately. Any other questions?



    • UKBigBlueForever
      1:44 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      So they were rioting because two women were fighting?? Give me a break… Why were those crowds out there to begin with!!!?



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      2:00 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      The race of the shooter is immaterial to me. The point is 2 people are dead as a result of the riots. All I want is for people to wait until all the facts come out before jumping to conclusions. Then, if the officer or officers involved should be charged, then charge them and don’t burn the country to the ground. I was appalled at what happened to George Floyd, and the officer was charged, yet much of the country is still burning. Let the justice system work.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      2:06 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      And don’t take anything I say as absolving this shooter of responsibility for his actions.



    • Bluehender
      2:31 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      cg moves to +3..



    • Bluebird
      4:02 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back from a foot away. His kids watched it happen. They have to live with that. Sorry, kids. Wait for the justice system. Yes, the same justice system that employs the man who killed your father. And the other cops who have killed 8,000 people in the last seven years.

      The white kid who actually killed two people and shot a third was arrested peacefully, by the way. Earlier that night, before he shot all those people, when he was hanging out with other militia-types, cops thanked him for being out there. They gave him a bottle of water and a high five. He had an AR-15 the whole time.

      The system is broken. Cops aren’t held responsible for their actions unless hundreds of people take to the street and demand it. Even then it’s a toss-up. But yes, go home, be quiet, put your faith in a justice system that doesn’t care about you and sure doesn’t care about justice.



    • Bluebird
      4:30 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      I left a key word out. Should say in the first paragraph, “man who might have killed your father.” Blake’s still alive, just paralyzed.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:23 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah, so riots are the answer before the facts come out. Never mind that he has a history of violence. Got it.

      BTW, any sympathy for this guy, or is this part of how you get justice?
      https://twitter.com/after_theaction/status/1298210964018429952



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:24 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      And I didn’t know those details about the shooter. If you have links proving that I’ll take a look.



    • Bluebird
      5:51 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      I can be against a guy getting shot in the back seven times and also against a guy getting hit. It’s weird that you seem angrier about the latter than the former.

      No is more frustrated by people co-opting a protest and using it as an excuse to get needlessly violent than the people are there protesting for the right reasons.

      Also, I’m on my phone, but I thiiink this is the video you want.

      https://twitter.com/shannonrwatts/status/1298646698273603586?s=21

      Also note that the white kid was allowed to walk through police lines even after shooting people. He was allowed to drive home. And the police chief of Kenosha still today seems reluctant to say the white kid did anything wrong. That press conference is available online too.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      6:32 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      I am not more upset about the latter than the former. The problem is we don’t know if the cop(s) did anything wrong or not, and we know the guy has a history. That’s what makes me angry. I can be upset about both too, once all the facts are out.

      The answer is never rioting and looting. What’s it going to solve? Nothing. What’s defunding police going to solve? Nothing. What’s going to make Antifa and militant BLM members stop rioting and looting? Nothing, except a strong, decisive, show of force. Even then I’m not so sure the way things are going.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      6:38 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

      I just watched the video. I heard one loud noise that sounded like a shot but I couldn’t tell. No one was screaming and running so did it happen after this was taken? Open carry is legal in many states, and some people are carrying to protect their businesses when riots break out (like the rooftop Koreans in LA in the 90s), or even before. I’m sure I’ll see more online tonight but I’m off the web for a while starting now.

      Peace. Praying for all of Kenosha.



  2. runningunnin.454
    12:59 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

    Hah, I gave up on that game early; when they left Donovan Mitchell wide open at the 3 line, I thought well, they’re not even going to try, and turned it off. There wasn’t anyone with 15 feet of him.
    That police shooting was bizarre; grabbing the guy’s shirt, and unloading into his back from point blank range? Even if the guy had a knife, that was not justified; that said, I don’t see what continuing to play ball has to do with that? The games give the players and coaches a platform to speak out; what else are they going to do?



  3. DaaaaCats
    2:16 pm August 26, 2020 Permalink

    Anybody else see Jamal’s shot linked in the first video in the article? Good grief.

    If you’re not watching these playoffs you’re seriously missing out. Every other game someone has a phenomenal night.