NBA scoring machine Jamal Murray has broken down in tears in an emotional post-game interview following his Game 6 heroics against the Utah Jazz.
Murray put on a historic clinic to lead the Denver Nuggets to a thrilling win over the Jazz on Monday — forcing a series-deciding Game 7.
Murray’s crazy point-scoring blitz tied the series at 3-3 after he went berserk in the second half to finish with 50 points and a series of records not seen since Michael Jordan in the 119-107 win.
Murray put up 21 points in the fourth quarter to go past 50 points for the second time this series. His astonishing performance saw some amazing records fall, including:
— Muray is now the fourth player in the history of the NBA Playoffs to record multiple 50-point games in the same series, joining Donovan Mitchell (200), Jordan (1988) and Allen Iverson (2001); and
— Murray is the first player since Iverson (in 2001) to score more than 40 points in three straight playoff games.
At the other end, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell continued his unstoppable run, putting up 44 points. But he couldn’t go with Murray late as the Denver star shot 17 of 24 from the field, including a red-hot nine of 12 from beyond the arc.
However, it was his display after the game that grabbed the most attention.
Murray was left in tears when trying to describe the emotion of the win in the wake of NBA players’ decision to strike last week to protest police shootings in the black community.
Murray knelt over when asked his first question and struggled to answer for several seconds.
When asked to explain his clear emotion, Murray pointed to his adidas shoes, which showed images of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Taylor was shot by police while sleeping in her bed, while Floyd’s police murder caught on film sparked international protests.
“These shoes mean a lot,” he said before breaking down in tears.
He then repeated: “These shoes mean a lot”.
The on-court interviewer tried to console him despite being separated by several metres in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Take a deep breath Jamal. You were outstanding tonight. We understand these are tough times,” he said.
Murray continued to be overwhelmed by the emotion of the NBA’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I just want to win. You have to hold things that have value to you. Things to fight for. And we found something worth fighting for. These shoes are a symbol to keep fighting for all around the world,” he said.
“They give me a lot of power to keep fighting. We want to win. I show my emotion and it comes out.”
“These shoes give me life. Even though these people are gone. They give me life. They give me strength to keep fighting in this world.”
NBA STAR EJECTED FOR SMACK IN THE CHOPS
The LA Clippers weren’t going to let Luka Doncic perform another miracle — no matter what it took.
Marcus Morris was ejected for a cheap shot on the Mavericks star who produced 39 points, nine assists and nine rebounds but couldn’t save Dallas from a 111-97 defeat that ended its season.
Morris had been accused of deliberately trying to injure Doncic earlier in the series and continued his hard-nosed approach by swinging his arm hard into Doncic’s neck and head in the first quarter. He was ejected from the game.
“It was a terrible play. What can I say?” Doncic said. “It’s two games in a row he did something like that. I really hoped the first game it wasn’t on purpose, but looking back on the foul this game, you know what I think. I don’t want to deal with that kind of player.”
“The play speaks for itself,” added Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. “As soon as this play happened in real time, I knew he was getting ejected.”
Still, the Clippers advanced to the second round, capturing their series 4-2, largely because of Kawhi Leonard, last year’s NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, who had 33 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
“Just got to my spots and put up the shot with confidence and it went in,” Leonard said after his fifth 30-point game in a row. “Just kept giving it to me and it went in with confidence.”
The Clippers opened the second half with a 20-3 run for a 77-54 edge, saw the lead trimmed to 88-82 early in the fourth in a Doncic-led fightback only to pull away again down the stretch.
The Clippers will play the winner of the series decider between Denver and Utah after the Nuggets forced Game 7 on Monday.
RAPTORS MISS 30 THREES IN CELTICS LOSS
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart each scored 21 points to lead the Boston Celtics over defending champion Toronto 112-94 in Monday’s opening game of their second-round NBA playoff series.
Kemba Walker added 18 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who also had 17 points from Jaylen Brown plus 13 points and 15 rebounds from Daniel Theis.
“Marcus today was unbelievable on both ends,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “All our guys played with great purpose, great enthusiasm.”
Boston frustrated Toronto shooters, the Raptors going 31-of-84 from the floor and 10-of-40 from 3-point range — the most 3-point misses ever by Toronto in a playoff contest.
“We just didn’t play well enough to win,” said guard Kyle Lowry, who led Toronto with 17 points despite a sore left ankle. “We’ve got to do our coverages harder, execute better.”
Smart had 10 points and Brown nine in the first quarter as the Celtics seized a 39-23 advantage.
“I got a great look off the first one and kept it going the rest of the night,” Smart said.
The Raptors pulled within nine in the second quarter but the Celtics stretched the lead beyond 20 points early in the third quarter and stayed in command to the finish.
The Celtics were without Gordon Hayward, who is out until late September with a right ankle injury.