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On the biggest stages, Jamal Murray shines the brightest

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As the first-round series between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz heads into a decisive seventh game, the legend of Jamal Murray continues to grow.

It began in Game 4, where Murray’s 50 points (on 18-for-31 shooting), 11 rebounds, and seven assists weren’t enough to get Denver over the hump as it suffered a two-point loss to fall down 3-1 in the series.

After what could have been a demoralising blow, Game 5 saw Murray respond the only way he knew how.

In his postgame interview, Murray said that after falling down 3-1, he reflected on how he had never been in that position and would do anything for his to not be eliminated. This, of course, was after he recorded 42 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in the 10-point Game 5 win that allowed the Nuggets to fight another day, extending the series to a sixth game.

Game 6 was an even more impressive performance, as Murray would again go for 50 points (on 17-for-24 shooting) in a win, fuelling Denver to force a decisive Game 7 against Utah.

His powerful comments post-game were a reminder of who Jamal Murray is as a player, but more importantly as a young man.

 

Before even getting into what Game 7 means for Murray and the Nuggets, just take a moment to appreciate how historic the 23-year-old has been in this series.

  • Averaging 34.0 points, 6.7 assists, 6.2 rebounds on .585/.574/.913 shooting splits through six games
  • Joined Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan and Donovan Mitchell (this series) as the only players with multiple 50-point games in one playoff series (per StatMuse)
  • First player since Jordan in 1993 to post three-straight 40-point games in a postseason series (per ESPN Stats & Info)
  • 11 points shy of having a top-five scoring performance in the opening round of the playoffs. (StatHead)

As The Athletic’s Blake Murphy penned following Game 6, Jamal Murray has transcended.

Now, after his scoring 142 points over a three-game span, two questions surround Murray: Does he have anything left in the tank? And can he shoulder Denver’s offensive load one more time in this series to complete the comeback from down 3-1?

Murray’s message after leading his team to force a Game 7 was simple: “They believe in me, I believe in them and we’re trying to be this 12th team to come back from down 3-1.”

Fear not, as a look into Murray’s past would suggest that the big stage is where his star shines the brightest.

Jordan Brand Classic

April 13, 2013

At 16, Murray traveled to Brooklyn, NY to take part in the Jordan Brand Classic International Game.

Murray, who was not exactly a well-known prospect at the time, made a name for himself by scoring a game-high 24 points, 16 of which came in the second half to earn MVP honours in the game.

To some, it might seem like an exhibition with not much consequence but for many, the impression that Murray made in that game was the first glimpse at his never-back-down mentality and desire to make a name for himself.

It would only be the beginning…

Nike Hoop Summit

April 12, 2015

In a game that featured the likes of Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard, and Ben Simmons, it was Murray’s star that shone the brightest.

The 18-year-old Murray led the way for the World Select Team, scoring 10 of his game-high 30 points int he fourth quarter to propel the squad to a 103-101 victory over the USA Junior National Select Team.

Like we’ve grown accustomed to seeing by now, Murray calmly made big plays at the most important juncture of a close game.

This performance put him in conversation to represent his country a few months later at…

The Pan Am Games

July 24, 2015

As The Toronto Star’s Doug Smith penned over five years ago, “A lot of people are going to say a lot of wonderful things about Jamal Murray as his basketball career unfolds, but none may resonate as much as the ones being spoken in the bowels of the Ryerson Athletic Centre on Friday night.”

Prior to stepping foot on a college campus, an 18-year-old Murray represented Canada as a member of the Senior Men’s National Team at the 2015 Pan Am Games.

That he was selected to play with the team says something but he wasn’t just along for the ride, he was there to make an impact.

In the semifinal round of the tournament, Murray stepped up in a major way, finishing with 22 points after going scoreless in the first three quarters. The most impressive buckets were his two triples in an overtime period that lifted Canada to a 111-108 win over the United States.

At 18.

As two-time MVP Steve Nash, who was in attendance said of Murray, “He’s a special, special kid… he’s not afraid of the moment. He embraces the moment and that’s why he’s very, very special.”

Rising Stars Challenge

Feb. 17, 2017

Fast forward nearly two years, and Murray took the floor with more young stars, as he represented Team World at the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge in New Orleans, LA.

Murray hadn’t even become a full-time starter with the Nuggets just yet but made his presence felt in this one.

It might have been a midseason exhibition, but Murray was clearly on a different level than the rest of his peers, scoring a game-high 36 points and dishing out a game-high 11 assists in a 150-141 win for the World Team.

His performance earned him MVP honours in a game that also featured Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Brandon Ingram, and Nikola Jokic.

2019 NBA Playoffs

After falling one win shy of a postseason appearance in 2018, Murray and the Nuggets made the leap to becoming the West’s No. 2 seed in 2019.

It was the playoff debut for a 22-year-old Murray.

In just his second-ever postseason game, Murray scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to help the Nuggets complete a late rally over the San Antonio Spurs to even things up in the first round. After the game, he remarked that “the fourth quarter is where players are made.”

It was a postseason of ups and downs for Murray, who performed significantly better in Denver’s wins than in its losses.

The Nuggets’ postseason came to an end after a gutting Game 7 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, a game in which Murray scored 17 points on just 4-for-18 (22.2%) shooting.


That heartbreak, as reported by Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, still weighed heavily on Murray as he entered the 2020 postseason.

Now, over a year later, Murray has an opportunity to atone for last year’s letdown as he looks to continue his historic tear for the Nuggets to join the 11 other teams that have come back from a 3-1 deficit.

Lucky for Denver, its young star has a history of shining bright on the big stage.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

Source: – NBA CA

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 4: Live score, updates, news, stats and highlights – NBA CA

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The Los Angeles Lakers take a commanding 3-1 series lead after holding off the Denver Nuggets to seal a 114-108 win.

The Lakers are now 11-3 in the post-season and need just one more win to make it back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

Anthony Davis led the charge with 34 points, five rebounds, and three blocks, while LeBron James was just shy of another playoff triple-double, recording 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

For the Nuggets, they were led by 32 points and eight assists from Jamal Murray as they face a 3-1 deficit for the third time in the 2020 playoffs.

If you missed any of the action we had you covered with live updates, highlights and more from this contest.

FINAL: Lakers 114, Nuggets 108

BOX SCORE | PLAY-BY-PLAY

– Davis buries two free throws to put the result beyond doubt and the Lakers go up 3-1 in the series.

– The Nuggets went cold down the stretch, not making a field goal over the last 3:28 minutes, missing their last five shots

– HUGE offensive rebound from Rondo, the Lakers’ 12th of the night. They’ve outscored the Nuggets 25-6 in second chance points

– Rondo climbs up the all-time playoff assist list, moving past Scottie Pippen for 8th

– Jokic misses the hook shot with a chance to cut it to five. He’s scorelss in the fourth, going 0-of-3.

– Monte Morris and Jamal Murray have scored the last 12 Nuggets points as they trim the lead to 105-102 (3:10)

– Jokic is back in the game alongside Millsap. They both have five fouls

– KCP hits the three at one end and gets the steal down the other. He’s making big plays for the Lakers down the stretch (3:56)

– Jamal Murray AGAIN! He gets another tough finish to go at the rim and the Nuggets are back within four points. (5:34)

– Davis and Rondo connect for another alley-oop. AD has scored the last eight Laker points as they go up five 99-94, (6:15)

– Anthony Davis goes down after turning his ankle on a jumper. He stays in the game and shoots two free throws (6:44)

– Jokic fouls Anthony Davis, picking up his fifth. The Lakers are in the bonus the rest of the way Millsap comes into the game (8:06)

– Jamal Murray is keeping the Nuggets within touching distance. His aggressiveness driving to the basket is catching the Lakers defence out.

End of third quarter: Lakers 87, Nuggets 84

– Every time the Lakers make a run and get the lead out to double-digits, the Nuggets have found a response and head into the third quarter down three points, closing the period on an 11-4 run

– Michael Porter Jr has come to life for the Nuggets with a couple of big triples. He gets one to go on the final shot of the quarter to make it 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.

– Anthony Davis is again struggling on the glass, with just one rebound. Howard (11) and LeBron (8) have done the bulk of the damage on the glass for LA.

– Rajon Rondo has provided a big spark in the third quarter! The ball fake never gets old. His layup gives the Lakers a 10-points lead (2:35)

– The Nuggets are shooting well from the field (57.4%) but the Lakers’ domination on the glass has made the difference. They’ve piled up 20 second-chance points midway through the third.

Torrey Craig drains the triple and Murray follows it up with another layup as the Nuggets get back to within five points. Timeout Lakers (7:21)

– Dwight Howard gets the free throw to go down and the Lakers have opened up a 10-point lead (70-60) thanks to a 10-2 run (8:14)

Half-time: Lakers 60, Nuggets 55

– After trailing by 12 points, the Nuggets rallied to cut the half-time deficit to just five points, led by Jamal Murray’s 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Jokic and Grant have 10 apiece

– Dwight Howard has been a monster in the first half, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, with 6 on the offensive glass. His activity around the rim has helped the Lakers create 18 second-chance points, more than they’ve had in any game during this series.

– Davis leads the way with 19 points, but the Lakers have four different players in double figures with 14 points from LeBron and 10 from Kuzma.

Half-time team stats:

https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/NBA_Global_CMS_image_storage/ac/ce/nuggets-lakers_48lf0pqr75zf1x8326b6qcx54.png?t=-1023334772&w=500

– The Lakers have now missed 8 of their last 9 shots as the Nuggets trim the lead to four points (1:36)

– Jamal Murray or Michael Jordan? Check this finish from the Nuggets PG!

– Kyle Kuzma’s giving the Lakers some strong minutes, He’s got 10 points in 10 minutes on court.

– The Lakers are making their presence felt on the glass, outrebounding the Nuggets 15-6 midway through the period. Jokic if off to a slow start with 2 points and 0 rebounds.

Alex Caruso drains the corner triple as the Lakers open their largest lead of the game 42-32 early in the second.

End of first quarter: Lakers 37, Nuggets 30

– It’s been a first-quarter shootout between Davis and Murray. AD leads the Lakers with 14 points, while Murray has 12 for the Nuggets. We’re on track for a high-scoring game with both teams shooting above 55%.

– Howard’s making the most of his start today, hauling in eight rebounds to go with eight points late in the first. Lakers lead 29-23.

– The Lakers have gone to their zone defence early, but credit the Nuggets who have moved the ball well early, getting 4 assists on their first 8 made field goals

– LeBron’s bucket caps off a 12-3 run as the Lakers take an eight point lead (5:26)

– A fast start for Anthony Davis, he’s got the Lakers’ first 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting as they lead 10-9. (8:16). Millsap picks up two quick fouls guarding AD and heads to the bench.

– Jokic gets the layup to go for the first points of the game and we’re underway in Game 4

Pre-game

– Dwight Howard will start at centre in place of JaVale McGee, alongside Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis

– Nuggets starters: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic.

– Jamal Murray gets loose ahead of Game 4

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Blue Jays clinch 1st post-season berth since 2016 after defeating Yankees – CBC.ca

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr., homered and ace Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 4-1 on Thursday night to wrap up their first post-season berth in four years.

Toronto survived a nervous eighth inning as New York scratched out a run off reliever Anthony Bass, who was pulled after loading the bases with his third walk of the frame.

Rafael Dolis came on and got pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez to fly out on a ball that Randal Grichuk caught against the wall in left-centre field for the third out.

Dolis returned for the ninth and when he fanned Aaron Hicks for his third strikeout of the inning, the party was on at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field.

The Blue Jays celebrated near their dugout, with many players putting on T-shirts that read “Respect Toronto.”

“We keep believing in ourselves,” said manager Charlie Montoyo. “It’s awesome. I’m so proud of this group. I’m the happiest guy right now.”

The Blue Jays were in control of their playoff destiny after entering play with a magic number of one. The two teams that had a chance of catching Toronto — the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners — were idle.

Regular-season play continues through Sunday and the playoffs will begin Tuesday. All first-round series will be best-of-three matchups.

It’s possible that the Blue Jays could still move up in the seeding order, but they are good bets to stay in the No. 8 position. If the season ended Thursday night, Toronto would meet the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.

Expanded playoff format

Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the playoffs. Division winners will be seeded Nos. 1-3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.

Guerrero had three of Toronto’s 10 hits. He hit a solo homer off New York starter Jordan Montgomery in the second inning and scored on Alejandro Kirk’s two-run double in the sixth inning.

Ryu pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season, allowing five hits and two walks. He had four strikeouts and threw 62 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

Gio Urshela doubled off Ryu (5-2) in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He was left stranded when Clint Frazier struck out.

Guerrero turned on a 1-1 pitch from Montgomery (2-3) in the bottom half of the frame for his eighth homer. Back-to-back doubles from Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette in the third made it a 2-0 game.

The Yankees (32-25) threatened in the sixth inning after singles by Luke Voit and Hicks. But Ryu struck out Giancarlo Stanton, got Gleyber Torres to fly out and then Urshela on a groundout.

Kirk, a rookie catcher who served as designated hitter, lashed a pitch from Adam Ottavino into the left-field corner to help the Blue Jays double their lead. Grichuk scored ahead of Guerrero, who hustled around third base and slid just under Kyle Higashioka’s tag.

New York can’t catch first-place Tampa Bay in the East and has a magic number of one to secure second place in the division.

Before the game, the Blue Jays activated right-hander Nate Pearson after a month-long stint on the injured list due to right elbow tightness. Reliever Wilmer Font was designated for assignment.

The Blue Jays won the wild-card game en route to an appearance in the American League Championship Series in 2016.

Toronto’s last World Series victory came in 1993. A long playoff drought followed until the Blue Jays reached the ALCS in 2015.

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Blue Jays beat Yankees to clinch first playoff spot since 2016 – TSN

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., homered and ace Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 4-1 on Thursday night to wrap up their first post-season berth in four years.

Toronto survived a nervous eighth inning as New York scratched out a run off reliever Anthony Bass, who was pulled after loading the bases with his third walk of the frame.

Rafael Dolis came on and got pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez to fly out on a ball that Randal Grichuk caught against the wall in left-centre field for the third out.

Dolis returned for the ninth and when he fanned Aaron Hicks for his third strikeout of the inning, the party was on at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field.

The Blue Jays celebrated near their dugout, with many players putting on T-shirts that read “Respect Toronto.”

The Blue Jays (30-27) were in control of their playoff destiny after entering play with a magic number of one. The two teams that had a chance of catching Toronto — the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners — were idle.

Regular-season play continues through Sunday and the playoffs will begin Tuesday. All first-round series will be best-of-three matchups.

It’s possible that the Blue Jays could still move up in the seeding order, but they are good bets to stay in the No. 8 position. If the season ended Thursday night, Toronto would meet the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.

Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the playoffs. Division winners will be seeded Nos. 1-3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.

Guerrero had three of Toronto’s 10 hits. He hit a solo homer off New York starter Jordan Montgomery in the second inning and scored on Alejandro Kirk’s two-run double in the sixth inning.

Ryu pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season, allowing five hits and two walks. He had four strikeouts and threw 62 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

Gio Urshela doubled off Ryu (5-2) in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He was left stranded when Clint Frazier struck out.

Guerrero turned on a 1-1 pitch from Montgomery (2-3) in the bottom half of the frame for his eighth homer. Back-to-back doubles from Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette in the third made it a 2-0 game.

The Yankees (32-25) threatened in the sixth inning after singles by Luke Voit and Hicks. But Ryu struck out Giancarlo Stanton, got Gleyber Torres to fly out and then Urshela on a groundout.

Kirk, a rookie catcher who served as designated hitter, lashed a pitch from Adam Ottavino into the left-field corner to help the Blue Jays double their lead. Grichuk scored ahead of Guerrero, who hustled around third base and slid just under Kyle Higashioka‘s tag.

New York can’t catch first-place Tampa Bay in the East and has a magic number of one to secure second place in the division.

Before the game, the Blue Jays activated right-hander Nate Pearson after a month-long stint on the injured list due to right elbow tightness. Reliever Wilmer Font was designated for assignment.

The Blue Jays won the wild-card game en route to an appearance in the American League Championship Series in 2016.

Toronto’s last World Series victory came in 1993. A long playoff drought followed until the Blue Jays reached the ALCS in 2015.

Notes: The game took three hours 11 minutes to play. … Dolis earned his fifth save. … The Blue Jays will start a three-game series against the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Friday. The Yankees will close their season with a weekend set against the Miami Marlins. … Toronto won three of four against New York and split their 10 games against the Yankees this year. … The Blue Jays improved to 15-8 at Sahlen Field.

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