Jamal Muray had a pretty good game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. 22 points on 12 shots, 8 assists, 4 steals, and some clutch buckets down the stretch including a filthy crossover on Brook Lopez that was so sweet Murray had to lick his fingers afterward.
Jamal Murray makes Lopez dance and then licks his fingers. pic.twitter.com/RbjkPptMQM— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 10, 2018
But just as he did in the final minutes of Denver’s previous meeting with the Lakers, Murray put a little extra on his victory celebration. In the final minute of the game, Murray had words for Lonzo Ball, the Lakers’ high-profile point guard and the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. After the game, no one on either side would share what was said, but whatever it was it got under the skin of Lakers coach Luke Walton...
Luke Walton cussing out Jamal Murray at the end of the game. pic.twitter.com/AoXxETo7e2— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 10, 2018
This is as dismissive of someone as I’ve seen Lonzo Ball. He said the Lakers remembered Jamal Murray’s “punk move” when he dribbled around Ball at the end of a 115-100 Nuggets win on Dec. 2. “Like I said, he going to do the circus stuff,” Ball said. “I’m not feeding into it.” pic.twitter.com/xuXtxPzQqk— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) March 10, 2018
and most of all, Lakers fans all over the world.
The reaction to Jamal Murray right now is priceless.— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) March 10, 2018
He had 22 points on 12 shots, eight assists and four steals in a win. Let him talk some trash... pic.twitter.com/bFV5YbyWTN
Few things are as satisfying as seeing Lakers fans - the world’s softest and most uninformed sports fanbase - crying a river of tears. Jamal Murray began trending on Twitter last night right after the final buzzer sounded as thousands of tweets rolled in from Lakers fans who were somehow shocked that their lottery-bound team lost a road game against a superior opponent.
Trash talk is a part of basketball. Michael Jordan was notorious for his vicious on-court trash talk, as was Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Gary Payton would start talking trash the moment he put his uniform on and wouldn’t stop until the team bus rolled away from the arena. Jamal Murray is cut from the same cloth. Few 21-year-olds are as mentally strong, motivated, competitive, and downright ruthless as Murray.
As a kid, his father would make Jamal do pushups in the snow to improve his pain tolerance. He played in all 82 games his rookie season despite having a sports hernia that required offseason surgery and only missed a single game this season because he was diagnosed with a concussion and was forced to sit by the league’s concussion protocol.
He practices meditation before and after games, practices, and workouts. He’s a fan of Kung-Fu movies and the over-arching ethos of the focus, discipline, and toughness at the heart of the genre. He even says Bruce Lee is his biggest influence, saying, “I wanted to know more about how he got so strong mentally. No matter who was standing in front of him, he was never afraid.”
The Nuggets will be in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers this Tuesday in the 4th and final matchup between these two teams. With such little time in between games, most players would probably avoid poking the bear. Murray isn’t that dude, and as much as Lakers fans will hate to admit it, Murray is one tough S.O.B. He knew exactly what he was doing when he taunted the Lakers in the final moments. He knew exactly what kind of atmosphere he’d be walking in to on Tuesday night at Staples Center. He knew that the Lakers would probably put a little something extra on every foul and that they’d be gunning for him from the opening tip.
Murray isn’t a fool. He’s just wired differently. He’s wired exactly the opposite of every Lakers fan fake tough guy on twitter who bravely took to their 120 characters to complain that this 21 year old kid was punking them and that’s why this whole thing is hilarious. Complain all they want, but Jamal Murray is living rent free inside the hearts and minds of every Lakers fan right now.
See you in L.A. on Tuesday.