Jamal Murray Leads Nuggets to Win vs. Jazz Despite Donovan Mitchell Dropping 57August 17, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Game 2 between these teams is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on TNT.