Nikola Jokic is the face of the franchise for the Denver Nuggets and, beyond that, the franchise boasts a number of talented players including Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Paul Millsap. With that as the backdrop, it would be easy for third-year guard Jamal Murray to get lost in the shuffle. But the 21-year-old was anything but anonymous on Monday evening.
Murray had his entire bag of tricks working for the Nuggets, and when the dust settled, he scored a career-high 48 points in leading Denver to an impressive 115-107 victory over the Boston Celtics. On his way to a stellar scoring night, Murray converted 19-of-30 field goal attempts and 5-of-11 threes, while also contributing five rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes of action.
From the early moments, it was clear that Murray had everything going for him.
In fact, Murray’s damage was spread out during the game, with 23 points before halftime and 25 in the second half.
For a few moments, it seemed as if Murray would become the first 50-point scorer for the Nuggets since Carmelo Anthony in 2011 and everyone was keeping track of his scoring binge down the stretch.
Sadly, Murray was unable to connect on a circus layup within the final minute that would have reached the milestone and, in the closing seconds, the Nuggets were at least relatively responsible in not sending Murray to score at the expense of a Celtics defense that let up as the shot clock was turned off. Still, Murray’s night is worthy of high-level appreciation, as he simply displayed the impressive upside that was already embedded in his game.
Given the fact that Murray is very young at the age of 21, it is probably safe to say that 48-point performances will not be the norm moving forward. He is certainly capable of explosions, though, and this is a game in which Denver almost certainly would not have been victorious against an elite opponent without the work that the youngster did in something of a coming-out party.