Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone had a lot to say about Jamal Murray following the team's thrilling Game 5 win over the Utah Jazz.
"The young man is growing up and turning into a superstar on the biggest stage," Malone said. "And couldn't be more proud of him."
Down 3-1 to the Jazz, Murray exploded for 42 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in Game 5 to keep Denver's season alive. He scored 33 of those points in the second half to spark a comeback, tying him with Russell Westbrook and James Harden for the most points scored by a player in the second half of an elimination game in the last 20 postseasons.
Murray made even more history with his performance. Per Elias Sports, Murray became only the second player in NBA history to follow a 50-point game with a 40-point game in the playoffs, joining the one and only Michael Jordan. Additionally, the 92 points Murray combined to score in Game 4 and Game 5 are the most in a two-game span in Denver's playoff history, surpassing future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony.
"Jamal embraces the moment," Malone continued. "He's not afraid of it. Some people run away from those moments. He looks for them. And without Jamal Murray's play, and not even just the points, but his attitude, that swagger, that confidence. That is contagious to all of our other players."
📽️ | @BeMore27- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) August 26, 2020
Jamal couldn't be stopped (yet again) tonight! #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/CtCIVfoLXh
Murray is now averaging 30.8 points, 6.8 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game in Denver's first-round series with Utah. The Nuggets have been a completely different team with him on the court, scoring at a rate of 130.2 points per 100 possessions compared to 87.3 with him on the bench.
The Nuggets will look to force a Game 7 when the two teams meet again on Thursday, Aug. 27 at 4:00 p.m. E.T. on TSN.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.