Putting the team on his back, Jamal Murray is forcing his way into another tier of NBA players.
In a third-straight win for the Denver Nuggets, Jamal Murray once again scorched the Utah Jazz, going back-and-forth with Utah’s Donovan Mitchell before outlasting him and forcing a Game 7 in the first-round matchup.
In his last three games, Murray has now totalled 142 points, 21 assists and five turnovers (all in Game 6) and is hitting 64 percent of his attempts.
Let that sink in.
He’s getting it done from everywhere as well. He’s getting hotter from behind the arc as he threw in nine threes in Game 6 which was capped off by an insane shoot-out against Mitchell at the end of the fourth quarter.
He even had one of the all-time ‘no, no… yes’ moments in the fourth when the Nuggets got out to a three-on-one fast break and instead of passing to one of the two teammates cutting to the rim, he pulled up behind the arc and let it fly.
There was also this gorgeous sequence:
And I think I can speak for all 30 fanbases when I say we all did the same face he did at the end.
He was playing aggressive, carefree and was unstoppable, making even the incredible.
This is the Jamal that Tim Connelly and the Denver organisation believed he could be when they signed him to a five-year, $170 million max extension this past summer. Some critics said he was overpaid from the moment it was inked and that the Nuggets were just offering it to him as a sign of goodwill.
Despite the noise, the Nuggets might be reaping the rewards for betting on their own guy as this outburst could be the turning point in Murray’s career when he realizes his potential.
He has spent the past two seasons on the outside looking in, whether that be losing to the Jimmy Butler-led Minnesota Timberwolves on the last night of the season to miss the playoffs or losing in seven games to the Portland Trail Blazers last season at the hands of their lead guards in CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard.
What’s best, is that his ascendency comes alongside Nikola Jokic, an offensive mastermind in his own right but a player who would more happily cede the scoring to his teammates and we saw a few times when head coach Mike Malone asked everyone to clear out and let Jamal and Nikola work their two-man game on the weak side.
It should also be added that defending that two-man game is two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert who was contesting some of the three-point attempts very well for the position he’s getting put in. They just kept going in and it looks like they will continue to go in.
This is Jamal Murray’s coming out party. If he’s going to play as well as he has in the deciding Game 7, who knows how far Denver can go. The Nuggets bet on their youth, their internal development and it’s now all coming together.