With the Denver Nuggets' season on the line, Jamal Murray took matters into his own hands, turning in a masterful performance in Game 5 against the Utah Jazz to force a Game 6.
Murray exploded for 42 points, 33 of which came in the second half as the Nuggets completed a 117-107 comeback win. The Jazz now lead the series 3-2.
The 23-year-old shot an efficient 17-of-26 from the field and 4-of-8 from the 3-point line, adding eight assists, and eight rebounds - most notably, he did it without committing a single turnover!
On the back of his 50-point game in Game 4, Murray etched his name into the Nuggets history books, with the most points scored in a two-game span in the playoffs (92), beating Carmelo Anthony's previous record of 74.
The only other player to follow a 50-point playoff game with a 40-point game since 1976 is Michael Jordan (3 times), per Elias Sports.
Jamal Murray's 92 points in his last two games are the most in a two-game span in Nuggets playoff history (ELIAS). Previous "record" was 74 by Carmelo Anthony in 2010. pic.twitter.com/9Tf94KHiUC- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 26, 2020
Murray also became the first player with back-to-back playoff games with 40+ points and 0 turnovers since 1983, per StatMuse.
Playing every minute of the second half, Murray got to his spots at will, knocking down big shot after big shot as the Jazz defence had no answer for him on the perimeter.
With the game tied at 101-101, Murray scored nine straight points to give the Nuggets some breathing room. He finished with 16 points in the final frame.
Too cold.- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) August 26, 2020
Too clutch. pic.twitter.com/zyWGHakaCZ
"Down the stretch, Jamal embraces the moment," Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said post-game. "He's not afraid of it. Some people run away from those moments. He looks for them."
The Jazz had built a 15-point lead in the third quarter before Murray caught fire and there was no shortage of highlights - none better than this 360 reverse layup over Rudy Gobert!
So nice, you gotta see it twice.- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) August 26, 2020
That bucket came in a pivotal 15-5 run for Denver as they roared back into the contest, as Murray single-handedly breathed life back into the game for his team.
While Murray owned the second half, Nikola Jokic set the table early, scoring 21 of his 31 points in the first quarter.
🃏 21 PTS 🃏 8-8 FGM 🃏 5-5 3PM 🃏- NBA (@NBA) August 25, 2020
Jokic perfect in 1Q on @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/eIywpsh2dl
He knocked down 7-of-11 from beyond the arc and 12-of-19 from the field, adding six rebounds, and four assists.
Donovan Mitchell continued his high-scoring post-season, leading the Jazz with 30 points, while Mike Conley Jr. and Jordan Clarkson added 17 apiece. Rudy Gobert recorded an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double, Joe Ingles added 13 points and Royce O'Neale 10 as all five Jazz starters scored in double figures.
The Nuggets will look to force a Game 7 when the two teams lock horns in their next game, scheduled for Friday, August 28 at 1:30 a.m. IST.
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