On Monday night Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray made history by becoming the first Canadian to score 48 points in a regular-season NBA game, matching Hall of Famer Steve Nash’s record for most points scored by any Canadian player.
It was a remarkable night for the Kitchener, Ont., native. It was also one that ended with a little controversy.
With the clock winding down and a 115-107 lead over the Boston Celtics in hand, the Nuggets looked like they were going to just let time expire. However, Murray had other plans. He decided to launch a late triple for one last shot at 50 points — a move that didn’t sit well with Celtics guard Kyrie Irving.
After the horn sounded, Irving was visibly upset at how Murray decided to end things, so he retrieved the ball and tossed it into the crowd in a show of frustration.
During a post-game interview, Irving explained exactly how he felt about Murray’s actions.
“Obviously, I was pissed at the game, but it’s time to decompress and move on,” Irving told reporters. “Congratulations to him having 48 points. He did it in a great fashion against us. Our defence has to be better, especially against a player like that in the pick-and-roll. He was the primary concern tonight and he made us pay in certain instances of making some tough shots and some tough layups.
“But the ball deserves to go in the crowd after a [expletive] move like that. So I threw it in the crowd.”
Murray didn’t see it the way Irving did and, to his credit, he says he had no intention of rubbing salt into the Celtics’ wounds the way he seemed to be doing.
“I think my emotions took over, as it normally does when I get going like that,” said Murray “No disrespect to the Boston organization and fans with the last shot. I just had in my mind that I was going to go 50, and I think everybody kind of understood that was what I was trying to do.
“I really wasn’t meaning no disrespect. I know half the team over there, so no hard feelings.”
This isn’t the first time Murray’s landed himself in some hot water at the end of a sure Nuggets win. Last season, against the Los Angeles Lakers, Murray dribbled the ball up and appeared to mockingly prance around Lonzo Ball.
At that time, Murray faced similar criticism from Ball and Lakers coach Luke Walton and after Monday’s game he referenced that incident with the Lakers last season in regards to his 48-point eruption.
“I didn’t have no conscience,” Murray said of his attempt at 50. “I really didn’t care at that point.
“Everybody knew I was trying to go for 50 at that point. That was the problem. I didn’t mean no disrespect. My emotions just took over like it did with the Lakers last year. I just lose myself sometimes.”