Following a disappointing playoff debut for Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray on Saturday, he came back with a vengeance in Tuesday’s Game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs.
Thanks, in part, to Nuggets coach Michael Malone’s faith in him.
“He was so frustrated at halftime at not making shots, shots he’s made his whole career,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, per Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. “I just grabbed him and said, ‘Listen, take a breath. You’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Every shot right now is like the end of the world. You know what? I believe in you. I love you. Just go out there and play.’”
Beautiful sentiment from Nuggets coach Michael Malone on why he stuck with Jamal Murray despite rough first three quarters in Game 2 win over Spurs: "I knew in my heart he needed to get these minutes. I needed to show him I believed him." pic.twitter.com/Nrmaon5FYc
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 17, 2019
Murray, 22, had a rough outing for the first half and most of the third quarter — shooting an abysmal 0-of-8 from the field with Denver trailing by 19 points just under the five-minute mark.
The Nuggets’ second leading scorer would then be set ablaze.
And all it took was genuine support from the fans in the Pepsi Center, and a return to reality for Murray.
“I just looked at the crowd, and I just took it all in, everybody waving the towels,” said Murray, who wore a T-shirt at the podium with his face next to Jokic’s mug in an ode to the video game NBA Jam. “I always dreamed of playing in a playoff game when it was a whiteout. That’s always been a dream of mine to accomplish that. I think that’s what got me started.”
Murray finished with 24 points (21 in the fourth quarter) as the Nuggets fled to the 114-105 victory.
They are now tied 1-1 in the first-round series with the Spurs.