Jamal Murray scores 50 points again as Nuggets force Game 7 against Jazz

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As he walked up the ramp to the Denver Nuggets locker room, Jamal Murray stopped and sat alone in a squatting position for a while before using his jersey to wipe his face.Helping to avoid a further elimination by scoring 50 points for the second time in three games, Murray forced a Game 7 by again edging Donovan Mitchell and lifting the Nuggets to a 119-107 victory in Game 6 over the Utah Jazz.

But Murray was overwhelmed with emotion at the end of another brilliant playoff performance, feeling the heavyweight of the last few days in the bubble as NBA players desperately searched for ways to continue the season while continuing. the fight for social justice and change.

“I play with a lot of heart, I play with a lot of passion,” Murray told reporters after a touching on-field interview with TNT just after the game. “And when you fight for something, it means a lot more. And we’ve been fighting this fight for a long time, and we’re tired of being tired. “

“It’s a moving thing because it’s not just me,” added Murray. “… These are lives; it’s not… it’s your life. Imagine losing your life. I don’t know what else to say. Imagine a father losing his life while they have children. Imagine a father, a son, a brother being shot seven times in front of his children. Imagine that. ”

Murray, 23, then paused for several seconds. The past few days have been emotional for several players as they met, argued and finally decided to resume the season after Wisconsin police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, repeatedly in the back .

After practice for the Nuggets on Saturday, Murray had a pair of bespoke Adidas shoes with the likeness of George Floyd and Brionna Taylor on each shoe placed in front of the camera for exactly two minutes before his interview with reporters. Wearing these shoes and taking inspiration from them, Murray made 17 of 24 scintillating shots, including 9 of 12 behind the 3-point arc to go with six assists and five rebounds.

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Jamal Murray conveys the emotions he felt about the fight for social justice while playing basketball in the bubble.

Murray is in the midst of an offensive tear that few players in NBA history have experienced. He is the 3rd player to score 50 in an elimination game, joining Sleepy Floyd and Wilt Chamberlain according to ESPN Stats and Info.

In Game 4, Murray had 50 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. In Game 5, he had 42 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. He joins Michael Jordan as the only player in playoff history with three consecutive games of 40 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

“I was fortunate to have worked with some excellent players in this game – LeBron [James], CP [Chris Paul], Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, “said Nuggets coach Michael Malone. But I’ve never seen a guy do 50, 42, and 50. And two of those games are elimination games. ”

“… And to do it with everything that’s been going on in the last three or four days,” added Malone. “All the emotions, all the raw emotions, make it even more impressive. ”

Playing every minute but two throughout the second half, Murray had 7 of 8 shots, including his five 3-point attempts, to score 21 points in the fourth quarter. When Utah arrived at seven with six minutes remaining, Murray scored Denver’s next 12 points to put the game out of reach.

It was just enough to ward off Mitchell, who was also brilliant with 44 points, six rebounds, five assists. Mitchell also buried nine 3-pointers and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter.

It is fitting that Murray and Mitchell’s playoff matchup is decided by a Game 7. Both guards have scored 50 points in this series twice, joining Allen Iverson and Jordan as the only players to have had multiple games at 50 points in a series. in the history of the playoffs according to statistics and ESPN news.

Utah, who had a 3-1 lead in that series, couldn’t hide their frustration. Rudy Gobert kicked a chair during down time and after the game Mitchell angrily knocked over a stationary bike on his way back to the Jazz locker room.

“We’re just pissed off because it was a winnable game,” Mitchell said. “No one is shot at all. We still have a game. ”

“Jamal played out of his mind,” Mitchell added. ” [Nikola] Jokic played very well. We just need to find a way to execute. We have done it three times. We can do it a fourth. ”

For Denver, this will be their third game in a row 7 after making their last two playoffs. The Nuggets beat San Antonio in the first round before losing to Portland last year.

But as Jokic pointed out, the Nuggets have essentially played in do-or-die circumstances for two games now.

“He’s really playing at a superstar level right now,” Jokic said. “So maybe the basketball god will give him some more during our playoffs. ”

And Murray will probably play with more emotion yet again.

“It was all emotions,” Murray said of his break on his long walk to the locker room. “Difficult to put into words. Just know, there is a lot of emotion. And I’m trying to play with it, as you can see. I use it to want myself to be tall, to be better. “

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