Jamal Murray Leads Nuggets to Win vs. Jazz Despite Donovan Mitchell Dropping 57

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray, left, shoots against Utah Jazz's Joe Ingles during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

What better way to start the NBA playoffs than with some overtime basketball?

And boy, was the basketball good. When the dust settled the Denver Nuggets came away with a 135-125 win, stealing Game 1 and spoiling an epic 57-point performance from Donovan Mitchell. The two-man game from Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic down the stretch was simply too much for Utah to overcome. 

Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA

The Jamal Murray/Nikola Jokic two-man game is one of the world's most beautiful things. Just incredible to witness

Troy Renck @TroyRenck

Damn. Jokic and Murray cold blooded #Denver7

Both teams came into Monday's Game 1 matchup less than full strength. Utah came into the contest without Mike Conley Jr. (birth of his son) and Bojan Bogdanovic (out for the season with a wrist injury), while Denver was missing Gary Harris (right hip muscle strain) and Will Barton (right knee soreness). 

Denver dealt with those absences better on Monday, thanks in large part to Murray's big night. 


Key Stats

Jamal Murray, DEN: 36 points, nine assists, 6-of-9 from three

Nikola Jokic, DEN: 29 points, 10 rebounds

Jerami Grant, DEN: 19 points

Donovan Mitchell, UTA: 57 points, nine rebounds, seven assists

Joe Ingles, UTA: 19 points, six assists

Rudy Gobert, UTA: 17 points, seven rebounds, four blocks


Donovan Mitchell Was Cooking

Bogdanovic's injury always meant that Mitchell was going to have to handle an outsized scoring burden. But without Conley, playmaking duties also fell to the young star. 

No problem. Mitchell was the best player on the court Monday, creating both his own shot and shots for teammates. It was an elite performance. 


🤯 That ATHLETICISM 🤯 #TakeNote x #PhantomCam #WholeNewGame on ESPN https://t.co/4iT2vLgPww


Donovan Mitchell IS DOING IT ALL! @utahjazz 73 @nuggets 70 27 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST for Spida on ESPN https://t.co/sM7YCBw0SM

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

We have Donovan Mitchell 2018 vs. OKC in round 1 version going right now.

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Mitchell is incredible.

Mitchell alone scored 23 of Utah's 32 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime. It was something special. 

The concern for the Jazz is that it wasn't enough to get a win. What happens if Mitchell has an off night in this series, especially if Conley misses the majority of the games? On Monday, at least, Mitchell looked the part of a superstar, and Utah needed every last bucket and assist to force overtime.  

What the Jazz really need now, however, is for another player to step up behind him. 


Jamal Murray Was Huge In The Clutch

Murray wasn't about to let Mitchell have all the fun. 

He saved his best for late, scoring 20 points from the last 3:13 of the fourth quarter through overtime. 


Murray & Jokic coming up big in OT to extend Denver's lead! @utahjazz 122 @nuggets 128 1 minute left in OT on ESPN https://t.co/MQyKCuixWj

Frank Schwab @YahooSchwab

Watching Jamal Murray take over an NBA playoff game on a Monday afternoon is something I didn't know I was missing in my life until now.

Sarah Todd @NBASarah

Career game for Mitchell, but a perfect OT by Murray

Shea Serrano @SheaSerrano


The Nuggets really relied on the two-man game between Murray and Jokic down the stretch, and that's the pairing that will need to play big if the Nuggets are going to survive a tough matchup like the Jazz. 


What's Next?

Game 2 between these teams is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on TNT.