Steph Curry gets hot for 53, Jamal Murray down with serious knee injury | Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors Scouting Report

April 12, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
April 12, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

On the night that Steph Curry passes the great Wilt Chamberlin as the leading scorer for the Golden State Warriors, the world stopped for Denver Nuggets fans. This morning, news broke from Shams Charania of The Athletic announcing Jamal Murray has torn his ACL and will be shut down for the remainder of the season. A devastating blow to one of the best teams in the West who had a real chance at a title this year.

Steph finished with 53 points, on 24 shots. He caught fire early and shot often. He was hitting ridiculous shots off the bounce and was barking at anyone who tried to contest him. He was feeling himself all night and you could just see the confidence oozing from him every time he touched the ball. It was refreshing to see another nuclear performance from this all-time great.

This loss seemed to be at the hands of the starters for the Nuggets as every starter was at least -13 on the plus-minus going into the fourth quarter. There was real laziness being executed on both ends of the floor by every player on the roster. It seemed like the Nuggets expected to walk in and watch the Warriors roll over for them. This scrappy Warriors team showed some real fight in them, even after the news that they likely have lost rookie James Weisman for the year. Maybe they still do have a shot at the play in the tournament…

Jamal Murray B

Murray showed why he is so important to this team. He came up with massive stops on the defensive end and finished with 4 blocks and even 3 steals. However, on a night where Steph Curry drops 48 points in three quarters, the Nuggets guards cannot be applauded for their defensive effort on the perimeter. Murray was noticeably rusty tonight, but his presence was a welcomed sight to the entire organization. He put up a few bad shots tonight which lead to his inefficient box score.

In the final seconds of this game, Murray snatched the souls of Nuggets fans with an awkward landing. We found out today that it was unfortunately a torn ACL. As soon as it happened it not only sucked the life out of Oracle Arena but also seemingly the entire Denver organization. Murray is widely considered to be a tough player when it comes to playing through pain, when he began slamming the floor everyone in the NBA world knew how serious this was. A plethora of superstars and old teammates poured on the love online for Murray.

The Nuggets need to get used to not having his offensive production around and will need some serious contributions from Aaron Gordon and the guards coming off the bench to try to mirror his efficiency and ability to score. This injury likely derails the Nuggets title hopes this year, but luckily for Nuggets fans, their big four is so young! This is not going to be their only shot at a title, but this was a good one.

Michael Porter Jr B+
Michael Porter Jr was much more consistent tonight, it looked like he really watched the tape and saw how inefficient he was being. Tonight, he took smart shots and was able to cook in the paint. However late in the game, he got off some contested threes that cratered his shooting percentage from deep. Porter was also very active on the glass and finished with 9 rebounds including 4 on the offensive side of the ball.

There was no one on the floor who could contain Porter down low when the big four was on the floor. When being utilized as a small forward on this roster, when he has a dramatic height difference, he needs to be looking to score down low. The biggest defender the Warriors could afford to put on him was Andrew Wiggins. While Wiggins is a great athlete and has length, he hails in comparison to the size and frame that Porter brings.

Nikola Jokic A-
Jokic’s ability to put his passes right in his shooter’s pockets allows his teammates to be so much more effective. When he can feed his role players with accurate passes and control the tempo it seems to relax everyone down to the 6th guy coming off the bench. Every night Jokic makes a few plays that have your jaw on the ground and result with a wide-open three or highlight real dunk for his explosive forwards in Porter and Gordon.

The Joker finished this game with another near triple-double with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. A lone bright spot for Jokic tonight, his offensive production just was not enough to combat the onslaught Steph Curry brought tonight.

Aaron Gordon B+
Aaron Gordon had a very well-rounded game tonight, while he did not fill up the stat sheet by making shots, he looked comfortable with Murray back in the lineup. The reason for his positive grade is a testament to his comfort on the floor with all of these other offensive weapons. He did not miss a beat with Murray coming back into the fold, yet still seems a bit too reserved and selective on the offensive side of the floor. With time, the confidence should continue to grow especially as he gets more reps with this pass-happy team.

Ideally, Gordon should have a bigger impact on the defensive side of the floor, however this quick Warriors team put him in difficult spots defensively. Gordon is not going to be anchoring a defense in Denver. However, if he can play with intensity and awareness on the defensive side of the floor, he has a chance to be a great asset when facing the formidable forwards in the Western Conference. Michael Malone will need to look at incorporating Gordon’s offensive talents more going forward.

Opposition shoutout: Stephen Curry A++
Steph’s ability to create space with or without the ball is second to none, and it was another example of why he is widely considered the best shooter in NBA history. He is so creative moving without the ball and setting himself up to get consistent shots off. He truly has a gravity to him that sets up his entire team to be successful. When he has the ball in his hands all 9 other heads are focused on him.

He is so dangerous on the floor at all times. Steph is the sole reason why the Warriors were able to pull out this win. He seemed to rally the troops through his shooting performance early and everyone came out with intensity on the defensive side of the floor. It truly was beautiful watching the aging superstar cook like that.

As NBA and basketball fans we need to take into context the fact that we are watching history and every night watching these incredible players is a gift. Murray’s injury is a testament to the fact that you just do not know when it will all come to a screeching halt.

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