In losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, Jamal Murray's season has come to an end.
And what a season it was.
After averaging a career-best 18.5 points and 4.8 assists per game during the regular season, Murray took his game to another stratosphere in the playoffs, leading the Denver Nuggets to a pair of 3-1 comebacks with averages of 26.5 points and 6.6 assists per game. Along the way, he joined the likes of Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain in the record books with some all-time performances.
With that in mind, here are five stats that define Murray's historic postseason.
2: How many times Murray scored 50 points
We have quite a lot to unpack here, so bear with me.
In Denver's first-round series with Utah, Murray scored 50 points not once, but twice.
The first came in Game 4 when Murray scored 50 points on 18-for-31 shooting from the field and 9-for-15 shooting from 3-point range. Unfortunately for him, Donovan Mitchell one-upped him - quite literally - by scoring 51 points to lead the Jazz to victory and give them a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
In the process, Murray and Mitchell became the first opponents in NBA history to score 50-plus points in the same playoff game.
Donovan Mitchell tonight: 51 PTS- StatMuse (@statmuse) August 24, 2020
Jamal Murray tonight: 50 PTS
It's the first time in NBA history opposing players have 50+ points in the same playoff game. pic.twitter.com/7Br4IIFQRv
In Game 6 a week later, Murray scored 50 points yet again, this time on 17-for-24 shooting from the field and 9-for-12 from 3-point range.
According to StatMuse, the last time someone scored 50 points on at least 70 percent shooting from the field in a playoff game was Charles Barkley in 1994. Additionally, Murray joined Sleepy Floyd and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to score 50 points in an elimination game, per ESPN Stats & Info.
More importantly, Murray's second 50-point game helped the Nuggets tie the series up at 3-3 and force a Game 7. They would, of course, defeat the Jazz in Game 7 to advance to the second round and become only the 12th team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
Some more history that was made:
- Murray and Mitchell each had two 50-point games in the first round. The only other players in NBA history with multiple 50-point games in a playoff series are Allen Iverson (2001) and Michael Jordan (1988).
- In addition to scoring 50 points in Game 4 and Game 6, Murray scored 42 points in Game 5, making him the first player since Jordan (1993) to have three straight 40-point games in a series.
- Murray and Mitchell scored a total of 475 points over the seven games, the most opposing players have ever combined for in a series. The previous record was held by Jerry West and John Havlicek, who combined for 463 points in the 1969 NBA Finals.
That's ... a lot of Hall of Famers.
23 years, 205 days: Murray's age in Denver's Game 7 win over the Clippers
After a scorching first round, Murray came back down to earth in Denver's second-round series with the LA Clippers.
That is, until Game 7.
Following a relatively quiet six games, Murray exploded for 40 points in Game 7 to put the finishing touches on yet another 3-1 comeback and punch Denver's ticket to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in over a decade. He was incredibly efficient once again, scoring those 40 points on 15-for-26 shooting from the field and 6-for-13 from the 3-point line.
Murray's performance was punctuated by this absurd shot over Kawhi Leonard:
At 23 years and 205 days old, Murray became the second-youngest player in NBA history to score 40 points in a Game 7.
The youngest? That would be none other than LeBron James.
At 23 years and 140 days old, James put up 45 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, only his came in a loss.
3: How many times Murray scored 40 points in an elimination game
If you're keeping count, that's three elimination games in which Murray scored at least 40 points.
With the Nuggets trailing the Jazz 3-1, Murray scored 42 points in Game 5 to keep their season live.
Back-to-back 40-PT games for @BeMore27!- NBA (@NBA) August 26, 2020
Jamal Murray's 42 PTS (33 in 2nd half) propel the @nuggets to Game 6, Thurs. (8/27) at 4pm/et on ESPN.#Drop40 #NBAPlayoffs #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/hkA08xgZxR
With the Nuggets trailing the Jazz 3-2, Murray scored 50 points in Game 6 to force a Game 7.
Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) goes off for 21 4th quarter points, 50 total, helping the @nuggets win Game 6!- NBA (@NBA) August 31, 2020
Game 7: Tues. (9/1) - 8:30pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/RpthJqIXCm
With the Nuggets tied at 3-3 against the Clippers, Murray scored 40 points in Game 7 to knock out a team many - myself included - thought would win it all this season.
Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) pours in 40 PTS (25 in 1st half) to help the @nuggets win Game 7 and advance to the Western Conference Finals! #Drop40- NBA (@NBA) September 16, 2020
DEN/LAL Game 1: Friday - 9pm/et, TNT pic.twitter.com/jrFpsd8bqM
Why that's noteworthy: Murray became the first player ever to record 40 points in three elimination games in the same postseason, per ESPN Stats & Info.
When Denver's back was against the wall, Murray was at his best.
12: How many assists Murray recorded in Denver's Game 3 win over the Lakers
Murray scored at such a ridiculous rate in the playoffs that it overshadowed his playmaking for others.
After tying his career high with 4.8 assists per game during the regular season, Murray averaged 6.6 assists per game during the playoffs. He was at his best in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals when he recorded a 28-point, 12-assist double-double in what turned out to be Denver's only win of the series.
Those 12 assists marked a new playoff career high for Murray and wasn't far off his regular season career high (15).
We'll take more of these, please pic.twitter.com/60gkbOQX4Q- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) September 23, 2020
There are a decent amount of players in NBA history who have averaged at least 25 points and five assists over an extended run in the playoffs, but it's a list that's littered with legends like Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Jerry West and - you guessed it - Michael Jordan.
Again, not bad company for Murray to be in.
58: How many layups Murray made
Murray was a much improved finisher around the basket in the playoffs, but I'll be honest, this is just an excuse to share this Vince Carter-esque finish...
Jamal Murray 360 layup 😳- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 26, 2020
Nuggets are back in this pic.twitter.com/1F4oje53Dl
...as well as this Michael Jordan-esque finish one more time:
More angles of Jamal Murray's RIDICULOUS up & under! 😱- NBA (@NBA) September 25, 2020
📺: @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/ogZJpcnrsB
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