Historic Murray Storm

Match to remember the Canadian on a record night. He is accompanied by Jokic, Porter Jr and a Campazzo with whom he shared many minutes.


Jamal Murray has been one of the cold water jugs, for now, of these 2020-21 Nuggets that have been a cold water jug ... for now. After their heroics (this can be applied to both Murray and the Nuggets) in the Florida bubble, neither the consistency nor the stability nor the step forward to go further has come. The team was a conference finalist at Walt Disney World and hasn't looked better than that in 29 games (16-13 now) quite the opposite. Murray then proved that he was an all-star talent when he was able to steadily hover around his best level, not only in explosions of heat that were, before those last playoffs, among the most destructive in the NBA.

For the Nuggets, after a horrible loss in Washington, were blessed by a game in Cleveland that, due to adjustments to the pandemic schedule, was not in their starting program. And they took advantage of it to show their best face. The one that makes them dangerous, the one that could turn them (although it seems that it won't be this year either, we'll see) into an alternative of real power in the West. It influences, of course, that the rival (103-120 final) were these Cavaliers who are in a spin after a brilliant start to the season: nine defeats in a row now and 10-20. But it mainly influences that all the good things that the Rockies have clicked at the same time. And it had hardly happened in this irregular season.

That starts with Murray, of course. The Canadian who is about to turn 24 and who is already playing under an extension of 170 million for five years. When its supreme version appears, every dollar seems justified. You only need to do it in full weeks, almost in whole matches and not in discontinuous combustions. In Cleveland Murray unleashed a talent that becomes feverish, uncontrollable: 50 points with a 21/25 in field goals, 8/10 in triples, only one loss and not a free throw taken! It is the first time in the history of the League that a player reaches 50 without going through the personnel line. And it's the second-best percentage (84%) in a game of that score, behind only 87% for Wilt Chamberlain in 1967 (53 points, 20/23 shooting). Around several incomprehensibly good games for Chamberlain, was Michael Jordan (53 at 24/29). Now there is Murray, who also left behind the 48 points that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon (two centers, not by chance) had achieved without taking free throws.

“It doesn't matter who defended me, but that's the way it is every night,” he said after blowing up a match that arrived almost without vital signs in the last quarter (82-95). Murray scored the Nuggets' first 13 points in the final quarter, including three triples in just over a minute and 20 total points despite sitting down the final 2:23, with the job clearly done. With his partner in a trance, Nikola Jokic (he turned 26 yesterday) was able to act as a mere facilitator: 16 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, his seventh triple-double of the season. And Michael Porter Jr (22 years old), the young man whose uncorking depends a good part of the options to get very far from these Nuggets, had a full day (they are not abundant, precisely): 22 points, 21 in a first part in the that the Murray had added 20 and the Nuggets had unloaded (50-69) all their offensive capacity on an absolutely inferior opponent.

It helped, we will see if they are guidelines for the future, that Porter Jr played a lot of four and Murray spent many minutes in two, without the ball in his hands. The former spent less time as a pure forward due to Millsap's injuries and a Green that fell right off the bat. Without Gary Harris, out again, the second adapted his role and shared the court more minutes than usual with Campazzo, who again had a solid, complete and productive game: more than 28 minutes on the court, 10 points, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2/3 on triples. And that connection with Murray that opens possibilities, for him individually and for Michael Malone in the evolution of a team that has been a disappointment for now but has an uncontrollable talent when released. That of Porter, that of the great Jokic and that of this Murray that was an uncontrolled heat wave in its passage through Ohio. A recital to remember.

Photos from as.com
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