Why Jamal Murray’s 50-point outburst will go down as one of the greatest scoring efforts in NBA history – The Denver Post

Jamal Murray turned in arguably the most efficient 50-point scoring performance in NBA history on Friday night and the Nuggets point guard reacted with mostly a shrug.

“I don’t know what to say,” Murray told reporters after a 120-103 victory against the Cavaliers. “That’s just how the game went, I guess. … It’s kind of cool to be making history.”

Murray’s latest entry into the NBA record books: The first player to ever drop 50 in a game without attempting a free throw. His unreal 84% shooting clip — 21-of-25 from the floor and 8-of-10 from deep — makes Murray just the second NBA player (joining Kyrie Irving) to have reached 50 points with only four missed shots.

Murray and Nikola Jokic are the third pair of teammates in league history, who are 25 years or younger, to have each scored 50 points in a game during the same season, per ESPN. The Nuggets’ super-duo joins Jim Jackson/Jamal Mashburn (Mavericks, 1994-95) and Jerry West/Rudy LaRusso (Lakers, 1961-62).

The Nuggets were in awe of Murray’s efficiency on Friday night, as Michael Porter Jr. explained: “We just stayed out of the way and let him do his thing.” Murray accounted for more than 30% of the team’s total shot attempts. His 50th point came on a monster one-handed dunk with 2 minutes left after which Michael Malone finally pulled him from the game.

“I’ve been around a lot of great players and have been in the league a long time. I’ve seen many 50-point games. But to do it as efficiently as (Murray) did is really remarkable,” Malone said. “He didn’t miss a free throw, because he didn’t get there at all. That’s an incredible stat line. He was on fire shooting into a big basket all night long.”

Murray’s mounting confidence ahead of a Sunday road game at the Atlanta Hawks is clear. When asked for his thoughts about opponents defending Murray with lengthier wings, he shook his head, and told reporters: “It doesn’t really matter.”

“It’s just a defender in front of me,” Murray continued. “I just need to get to my spot. You guys know how I play.”

Well-intentioned technical. While Murray’s 50-point masterpice was the biggest storyline from Friday night, another Nuggets player earned the respect of teammates: Isaiah Hartenstein.

The first-year forward/center, signed during free agency, was called for a technical in the first half against Cavaliers center JaVale McGee — with Hartenstein initiating contact, bumping chests, and jawing in his face — only after McGee had slammed Michael Porter Jr. to the court by his collar bone.

Hartenstein’s quick defense of Porter drew rave reviews from the Nuggets teammates.

“Before I even acknowledged Jamal’s unbelievable performance tonight, the first thing I talked about was Isaiah Hartenstein stepping up for his teammate,” Malone said. “Michael Porter takes a hard foul and I love the fact that (Hartenstein), who has been here for like a month or two now, he steps up to protect his teammate. That, to me, is huge. I love when teammates have each other’s backs. That shows that we are connected. That shows that we care about each other and we’re going to fight for each other.”

Porter added: “It’s good to know that guys have each other’s backs around here.”

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