Murray and Mitchell, a la Jordan and Bird: a historical series that is decided in the seventh game

The seventh game between Nuggets and Jazz will focus on both figures, protagonists of a series in which they have broken all scoring records.

Murray-and-Mitchell-a-la-Jordan-and-Bird:-a-historical-series-that-is-decided-in-the-seventh-game

"The two most important words in sport: game seven". This is how Bill Russell explained in his day the meaning of what it was to play a seventh game in the NBA. Where you play all or nothing, the win or go home is for both teams and losing entails dragging everything that comes after, a season of 82 games (generally), intense preparation and long training sessions that end up summarizing everything a basketball course in 48 minutes in which you cannot fail if you want to escape unscathed. This is what the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz will play today, the first seventh game of the 2020 playoffs, one in which there will be a team that comes out alive and advances to the semifinals of the West towards a confrontation with the Clippers and another that packs up and head out of Disney after seeing one of the greatest magic shows of recent years.

At least, as regards the scoring of the series' two protagonists, Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell. Two referents of the new generations, they are being masters and lords of a series that has given much more than what was expected at the beginning. With two teams that generate little interest for the average fan and that lack, in their current moment, the charisma or controversy that other big stars generate (the morbid of Chris Paul and the Rockets will have one more chapter). Of course, the promises of change come to the NBA and with them two talented players who are living their basketball climax in recent days in Florida, with scoring exhibits only at the height of dimensionless and historical references like Michael Jordan ... and little else . These two characters have been reduced to a series of epic tints in which the Jazz began losing, then won three games in a row and saw Denver recover and draw the tie just when it seemed impossible for that to happen.

Points, points and more points

It all started with a first hectic duel, whose balance tipped on the side of the Nuggets who faced the most monstrous version of a Mitchell who fought against the world but could not make his team take the victory. 57 points were those scored by the shooting guard, the second best mark for a player 23 or younger after Jordan scored 63 at the Garden against Larry Bird, the one in which "God dressed as a basketball player." It was also the third-highest score in playoff history behind Jordan and Elgin Baylor, which went to 61. The best in franchise history and the first time anyone from the Jazz reached 50 points since Karl Malone did it against the Sonics in 2000.

Mitchell rounded off that first performance with 9 rebounds and 7 assists, 19 of 33 on field goals, 6 of 15 on 3s and 13 of 13 on free throws. And he faced a compact block already led by Murray, who went to 36 + 5 + 9. Just a warning of what was to come, albeit with a slight rest in the next two games, both with victory for Utah: 30 and 20 points for Mitchell in both games and 14 + 12 for Murray. The definitive explosion would take place in the fourth game of the series, with 51 points for the Jazz star ... and 50 for Murray. In total, 101 points combined, the best ever mark in a playoff game over the 99 that Jordan and Bird scored in 1986. We've already mentioned that Jordan that day went to 63 points ... with 36 + 12 + 8 from the Celtics hero, who did not exactly make a low-key game.

Evidently, the thing did not stop there; Murray, who rounded out his performance in Game 4 with 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 0 losses and 9 of 15 on 3s, went 42 + 8 + 8 in the fifth, saving the Nuggets. His rival stayed at 30 points, a low figure if we take into account where both basketball players are moving in recent days. Everything exploded again in the sixth game, with 44 points from the Jazz player and another 50 from Murray, who burst into tears after the game after adding 5 rebounds and 6 assists, in addition to 17 of 24 in field goals. and a spectacular 9 of 12 in triples. Something unusual in the career of a player whose maximum score in the playoffs was 36 points, a figure that he has far exceeded in three of the six games of the series and that he has equaled in one more.

The data and the final match

The series is full of records. In addition to those already mentioned, it is the first time a player has passed 50 points in the same series since Allen Iverson in 2001. He did so in the East semi-finals against the Raptors, in another series of a huge individual duel against Vince Carter . Iverson also arrived that same season, in the East finals, to make three consecutive games of 40 or more points, something that Jamal Murray has done in the last three games, in which he averaged 47.3 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. . In total, the Nuggets point guard, who has displaced Nikola Jokic from his usual role, is at 34 points per game, with 58.5% in shots from the field, 57.4% in triples and 91.3 % in free throws. Mitchell for his part, is going to 38.7 points per night, with 54.8%, 55.4% and 94.6% respectively. To put it in hindsight, Iverson averaged 33.7 points per crash in the aforementioned 2001 series, and Carter 30.4. A big difference in that it is also the first time in history that two players have played two games of 50 or more points in the same playoff series.

Little more remains to be added. Everything will be decided tonight with an eye on both rivals, but with the assurance that the mayor's office will have something to say in what is to come. In fact, all Nuggets players who are not named Murray average 42.5% on 3s, and the Jazz, aside from Mitchell, are at 41%. The spaces that both generate and the outside success of their teammates, as well as the individual duel between Jokic and Gobert, will be key to discerning the result of a tie with epic overtones and that has two emerging stars of just 23 years (Mitchell will turn 24 September 7) breaking seemingly impossible records and having one of the most impressive scoring matchups ever. Like Jordan and Bird, wow. Almost nothing.



Photos from as.com
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