Jamal Murray makes his long-awaited return and all is right in Denver

Apr 6, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) makes a three-point shot
Apr 6, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) makes a three-point shot / Michael Ciaglo-USA TODAY Sports

After missing seven games with ankle and knee injuries, Jamal Murray finally returned to the Nuggets lineup on Saturday. It was a sight for sore eyes, as the Denver offense looked like a brand new team, scoring 142 points and trouncing the Atlanta Hawks by 32.

Murray played just 20 minutes in the blowout victory, scoring 16 points on 6/11 shooting to go along with 6 assists. He was right back to his usual role when he was out there and the offense truly looked like night and day from what we’ve been seeing lately.

Granted, they were facing the Hawks, who have one of the worst defenses in the league, but still, this was a much-needed playoff tuneup for the Nuggets with Murray back out there. The win moves the Nuggets to 54-24 on the season, vaulting them to first place in the Western Conference by half a game over the Timberwolves.

Aaron Gordon missed this game with a foot sprain, so hopefully, that’s nothing serious, but getting Murray back was the story. Things had been getting slightly concerning as the star guard had been out for almost two weeks and the playoffs were rapidly approaching.

Now the team has just four games left in the regular season. Ideally, we’ll see Murray out there for a few of them and he can play more minutes each game so that he’s fully ramped up once the playoffs start on April 20th or 21st.

Tuesday night’s game against the Timberwolves could almost be a one game playoff for the top seed in the West. It will be interesting to see just how seriously both teams take it. If everyone is healthy, it could be a good opportunity for Denver to simulate a playoff-like atmosphere, playing their starters heavy minutes.

That could be the final chance to see the team at full strength and approaching a game with intensity and high stakes before playoff basketball begins. Whether they do or not, it’s just great to see Jamal back on the court. The team desperately needs him, and Denver fans can breathe a deep sigh of relief now.