Nuggets dodge major bullet as NBA league office bails them out

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets - Game Two
Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Nuggets still have a lot of work to do and one hell of an uphill battle to come back from their 0-2 deficit and defeat the Timberwolves in their round two playoff series. But they can breathe a small sigh of relief for the moment as the league announced that Jamal Murray will be fined for his actions of throwing a heating pad onto the court during play. 

No suspension for Jamal Murray

That means that Murray will not be suspended, and is eligible to play in game three. Murray will be fined $100,000 for the incident, but honestly, it feels like he got lucky here. His emotions got the best of him and he did something inexcusable. While suspending the star guard for a playoff game would have been brutal, it would have been fair and warranted.

There was more than enough justification for Murray to miss a game based on what he did. The Nuggets would have had very little room to argue that decision and I’m sure the league office had a very tough time with this decision. 

I’m sure there were some voices who wanted to set a precedent that this kind of behavior is completely unacceptable, making an example of Murray by showing that throwing any object onto the court during play will result in a suspension. But there were likely other voices not wanting to remove a star player from a playoff series, possibly jading a massive series for the league.

Ultimately, they obviously settled on a large fine and no suspension. But the Nuggets can’t exactly be celebrating this decision, they need to be focused on fixing their problems on the court. The team has been a disaster, and a lot of that starts with Murray.

Murray was dreadful in both ends in game two and the heating pad toss was reflective of his night in general. He’s clearly not 100% healthy, but he simply has to find a way to contribute more to give his team any chance at a comeback.

Hopefully, this long layoff between games two and three will give Murray time to rest and heal up a bit. We are going to need to see a much different and better version of Jamal going forward. So while, it’s hugely important that he won’t be suspended, if he can’t turn his play around it won’t matter.