Finding the playoffs year after year is always a pleasure for the players. So when you miss them for a while, seeing them again is bound to be exquisite. Jamal Murray had not played a playoff game since September 26, 2020, in the “bubble”.
Since then, as we know, he suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in April 2021, thus missing the playoffs that year, then the entirety of last season. Of course, this Game 1 against the Wolves had a special flavor and the emotions were at their peak for the playmaker from Colorado.
“I haven’t felt such excitement since the start of the season,” he explains at ESPN. “We want to play so well that it ends up affecting us. We had to go back down, find our legs and play basketball. »
“As in these playoffs, he will get better”
The stage fright or the desire of the player had a palpable translation at the start of the meeting. Jamal Murray indeed missed his first five shots, before finally scoring after 14 minutes of play. Adrenaline and pressure also tired the player faster than expected.
“There were a few moments at the start where he apologized,” says Michael Malone. “I told him not to do it, to continue, to play his game. His shots were going to end up falling into it. I had no doubts about that. I’m proud of his comeback and as he goes through these playoffs he’s going to get better. »
For this first game of the series, Jamal Murray finished with 24 points at 9/22 in shooting, 8 rebounds and 8 assists, losing only one ball. With 15 points at 50% success in shooting, he regained his feelings in the second half.
“I told him the other day: he is better now than before his injury,” believes Michael Porter Jr, who also had not played the playoffs for some time, his last postseason game dating from 2021. “I know he doesn’t feel like it, but I’m talking about the versatility of his game. With a year to watch, he had a realization. He makes the right choice. »
How to read the stats? MJ = matches played; Min = Minutes; Shots = Shots made / Shots attempted; 3pts = 3-points / 3-points attempted; LF = free throws made / free throws attempted; Off = offensive rebound; Def= defensive rebound; Tot = Total bounces; Pd = assists; Fte: Personal fouls; Int = Intercepts; Bp = Lost bullets; Ct: Counters; Points = Points.