Jamal Murray becomes youngest Nuggets player with at least 35 points in a game since Carmelo Anthony
The slumping Denver Nuggets, who entered Monday night as losers in six of their last eight, got a spark from Jamal Murray. The second-year guard put on a cape and shot the lights out to guide the team to a much-needed 104-101 victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.
The University of Kentucky product poured in a career-high 38 points on 73.7 percent shooting, three of which came in his resilient go-ahead and-one play with only 34 ticks left.
Murray’s big day also had him making his first mark in the franchise’s record book. The scoring burst made him the youngest Nugget (20 years old) to score 35 or more in a game since Carmelo Anthony.
The performance is further proving that Murray could soon be the team’s ultimate go-to-man. He is consistently rising in the Nuggets’ pecking order despite sharing the floor with an array of perimeter players, which includes Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Wilson Chandler.
Head coach Mike Malone is recognizing the talent this youngster has. Here’s what he told the Associated Press during Monday’s post-game interviews:
“Jamal Murray’s a guy that can make (shots) throughout the game but he can also make big plays down the stretch… It’s great to see a young, 20-year-old guard, second year in the NBA, who’s not afraid of the moment.”
With the string of 20-point games in the last couple of weeks, Murray’s scoring average this season is now up to 16.2 points per game – tied with Nikola Jokic for second in the team, and closely trailing Gary Harris.
The Nuggets are only 24-23 thus far, barely hanging on to the eighth spot in the Western Conference, but they will be in a favorable position in the next two weeks, with six of their next seven games being held on their home floor.