Regardless of whether it isn’t trending on Twitter, it’s certain as heck trending in the early throes of the Nuggets-Blazers series. What’s more, Jamal Murray has the bruise — sorry, bruise , we’re up to plurals now — to demonstrate it.
“(Those screens) hurt. It is what it is,” the Nuggets’ point guard said after a difficult 15-point, seven-bounce back exertion against Portland in a 97-90 Game 2 misfortune at the Pepsi Center late Wednesday night, a mishap that leveled the best-of-seven NBA Western conference semifinals at 1-1.
“(It) hurt for the rest of the game. Couldn’t move, obviously. Coach had to take me out. (I’ll) get treatment and get ready for Game 3, but it’s definitely hurting.”
Murray on Wednesday re-aggravated a right thigh damage at first endured in the Nuggets’ series triumph over San Antonio, one of the losses bouncing into the trenches with Gregg Popovich when elimination’s on the line. The blankety-blank Spurs additionally uncovered a procedure — viable, if underhanded — to successfully pour sugar into Denver’s offensive gas tank:
Murray can’t beat individuals from long distance, or through his development on the pick and roll, if the child doesn’t have two healthy legs to remain on.
Therefore, the Blazers are additionally cheerfully slamming endlessly against No. 27 through screens and other arranged love taps, since Pop doesn’t mess around. Also, the details don’t lie: Going into Friday’s Game 3 at Portland, at whatever point Murray has been held under 39 percent shooting from the floor in the postseason, the Nuggets are 0-4 — a trend line that incorporates the Blue Arrow’s 6-for-18 line (33.3 percent) amid Denver’s setback in Game 2.
In the regular season, the Nuggets were 12-11 (.528) when Murray fell beneath the 39 percent mark on field-objective endeavors, instead of 42-17 (.712) when he broke 39 percent or better.
“I mean, shot for shot, I missed a ton in the first half where I was completely wide open,” said Murray, who’d connected on 8 of 15 attempts (53.3 percent), 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, in Game 1. “We just missed. (We) had our opportunities to close the gap over and over, but we just didn’t. I think our effort defensively in the second half was really great, but it came down to us putting the ball in the hoop.”
Later on, it could all around come down to putting ice on Murray’s stilts assuming No. 27, and the Nuggets, plan to make it out of the Pacific Northwest in one piece. Defensive ace Torrey Craig wasn’t the only Denver most loved Wednesday night attempting to fly on an injured wing.
“I think it is (carrying over from San Antonio),” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of Murray, who’d taken offense to the screens set by Spurs center Jakob Poeltl. “I think it’s just that right thigh area. Obviously, I think it’s still probably sore and bruised from last series … he’ll just have to get treatment for the next couple of days, try to loosen it up so he can play as effective as possible come Friday night in Game 3.”
Malone held Murray out of the last minute of the challenge for precautionary reasons, despite the fact that the Canadian sharpshooter still figured out how to make a dent in the box score in any case. With 43 seconds left and Damian Lillard having spat another nail into Game 2’s coffin from the charity stripe, the Blazers’ 6-11 center Enes Kanter went careening into Craig as he left the path, sending the 6-7 little forward — who was at that point nursing a genuine nasal injury — rambling onto the hardwood.
Replays demonstrated that Kanter was likely pushed by Nikola Jokic to begin the dominoes falling, a launch point Murray might not have seen, as he left the bench amid a break in the activity and got into the Portland center’s face, drawing a technical the procedure.
“I thought he hit Torrey, again,” Murray said. “So it is what it is.”
It’s an even series now. It’s the Blazers with three of the next four at home, conceivably, challenging the Nuggets to rehash their Game 4-in-San-Antonio swagger. What’s more, for No. 27’s sore legs, it’s déjà vu all over again.
“Shooters shoot,” he said. “But at the same time, you’re still shooting and they’re not going down … we just have to make some adjustments earlier, whether it’s mixing it up inside-out or trying to play a faster game. But we have to change something.”