Jamal Murray makes NBA history in first-round playoff series win over Lakers

Apr 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) watches his shot in the
Apr 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) watches his shot in the / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Murray has been the definition of a playoff hero for the Nuggets during his career, consistently raising his game in the postseason, especially in crunch time. Murray has already built a ridiculous playoff resume and his reputation and legacy as a clutch assassin are ironclad.

That was only further cemented in the Nuggets’ first-round series victory over the Lakers four games to one. Murray ended game two with a game-winning buzzer-beater to cap off a huge Denver comeback, then finished off the series by hitting a game-winning runner in the closing seconds of game 5.

In doing so, Murray actually made a bit of NBA history as he became the first and only player to ever hit game-winning shots in the final 5 seconds of multiple games in one playoff series. If it seemed like Murray’s heroics were rare, that’s because they have never been seen before. The Nuggets guard is special when the lights are brightest and his game-winning shots are becoming as inevitable as Nikola Jokic’s all-around game.

Making it even more impressive, Murray was questionable to even play in game 5 due to a calf strain. The training staff actually advised him not to play, but Murray insisted. He went out on one leg and put up a masterful performance, including another game-winning shot to add to his collection.

It’s fair to wonder if Murray is the best clutch shooter in the NBA and he has a great argument to be the player whose hands you’d most want the ball in for the final possession. He just doesn’t seem to miss in these moments.

Murray also had one of the coldest dunks of his career, posterizing LeBron on a bad wheel with a little extra stare and flex on top. 

Perhaps Murray was running adrenaline, but whatever he was doing worked. He’ll have the rest of the week to rest up and try to heal his calf before what figures to be a very tough and physical second-round series with the Timberwolves. It won’t be easy but if Jokic is going to play like one of the best players of all time and Murray is going to play like the most clutch shooter of all time, it’s hard not to like the Nuggets’ chances.