He would have preferred the victory, but Jamal Murray’s 50-point outburst in a 129-127 loss to the Utah Jazz made history in more ways than one.
Murray, a fourth-year guard from Kitchener, Ont., became the first Denver Nuggets player in franchise history to score 50 points in a playoff game.
He also set a record for the highest point total by a Canadian in an NBA game, eclipsing the previous record of 48 points he shared with Hall of Famer and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash.
Murray added 11 rebounds and seven assists and hit nine three-pointers in the loss, but the effort was largely overshadowed by a 51-point performance by Utah’s Donovan Mitchell.
Denver is on the brink of elimination from the NBA playoffs, trailing Utah 3-1 in the best-of-seven first-round series.
“They made shots, we made shots. We just didn’t get enough stops,” said Murray in a subdued post-game press conference.
“It’s going to happen, but we’ve got to find a way to get three stops in a row. Whatever it is, we’ve got to find a way to … not give up threes. We’ve just got to be on the same page.”
Murray wasn’t asked about his individual performance, and didn’t comment on it. That was predictable, given third-seeded Nuggets have fallen significantly short of expectations in the NBA bubble.
But it did mark a statistical high point. Murray’s previous career high made headlines across North America when he scored 48 points in a 115-107 regular-season win over the Boston Celtics on Nov. 6, 2018.
Nash had 48 points in a 2005 playoff game, and Andrew Wiggins (Vaughan, Ont.) had 47 points on Nov. 13, 2016, when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Whatever we’ve got to do for Game 5, that’s what it is,” said Murray in the post-game presser. Just take it from there. No one wants to go home yet, and there’s a lot of fight in us left.”