It’s no secret that the Denver Nuggets have been shorthanded throughout the NBA restart so far. Perhaps the player that they missed most during their first four seeding games was their starting point guard, Jamal Murray. Murray is such a focal part of their offense, and it’s his chemistry with Nikola Jokic that really takes this team to another level on the offensive end. So, when it was revealed that he would be making his debut in the seeding game against the Utah Jazz, Nuggets fans tuned in to watch how Murray would perform.
Murray did not disappoint, scoring 23 points, notching 8 assists and bringing down 12 rebounds. Although coach Michael Malone had every intention of holding him to a minutes restriction in his first game back, Murray played 39 minutes in what ended up being a thrilling double overtime game in what we now know was a preview of the first round of the playoffs.
Murray took to Instagram after the game to express his joy at making his return, but acknowledged that the double OT game in his first game back left him feeling pretty exhausted.
Due to the fact that Malone has been very cautious with his starters’ minutes since the restart, and the fact that the team is still dealing with the injury bug, we did not get a ton of data in these seeding games as to how this team will measure up to the other elite teams in the Western Conference once the playoffs begin on Tuesday. One thing we can expect, however, is that Murray is ready for the big lights. Hopefully now Gary Harris and Will Barton can get healthy so that we have a complete team sooner rather than later.