"It is important because they are both great players and they are going to continue to get a lot of attention throughout the series". In fact, it was going worse, as Murray missed all eight of his shot attempts in the first three quarters. On Tuesday evening, the outlook wasn't rosy for either player or team for much of the night but, just as Denver's offensive issues seemingly were on pace to sink their playoff hopes, Murray awakened, leading the Nuggets a 114-105 victory. San Antonio is expecting Denver to get creative to counter the double-teams for Jokic, who averaged 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 15.1 shots per game this season.
Murray, though, had other ideas.
They had the ball with 6.9 seconds left and needed a 3 even though they were just 6 for 28 from the arc.
Bet on the game or on the Spurs, Nuggets to win the NBA Championship at DraftKings and get a free $20 bet when you sign up.
In any case, he had all the confidence in the world in the fourth quarter, raining in jumper after jumper despite some pretty solid defense from the Spurs.
Thankfully the result went their way, but the fact remains they've struggled to knock down shots from the charity stripe. Fadeaways, off-balance 3s - it didn't matter what the Spurs did.
Murray's 21 fourth-quarter points represented the highest total seen in the National Basketball Association playoffs in a half-decade.
Meanwhile, Murray's point guard counterpart, Derrick White, was following up his breakout Game 1 performance by making 7 of 10 shots on Tuesday and scoring all 17 of his points for the Spurs in the first three quarters.
Jamal Murray was left to rue a huge missed chance in the dying seconds of the series opener, but he put those misses in the rearview mirror and erupted in the fourth. I let the crowd, the incredible energy, get to me. Denver head coach Mike Malone said that anytime Jokic put the ball on the floor, San Antonio smothered the big man with multiple defenders. "I think Nikola took on that challenge and did a hell of a job". Make no mistake, Denver was stumbling toward that fate, trailing 78-59 with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter.
Jamal Murray couldn't even get the in-game snack right. I didn't foresee the fourth quarter he was going to have, but I knew in my heart he needed to get these minutes. "I just grabbed him and told him take a deep breath. They trapped him every time", Malone said.
That's an impressive quote from Malone, and sticking with his youngster despite how things were going was an impressive decision as well.
With much of the Nuggets team experiencing the postseason for the first time, Denver came out and fell behind by 19 in the second quarter.