The ‘Bubble Murray’ we knew is back.
The Denver Nuggets won 125-107 in a match against the Phoenix Suns in the first leg of the second round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, USA on the 30th (Korean time). A tight match was expected, but unexpectedly, Denver succeeded in easily overcoming the baseline.
At the center of Denver’s ㅋㅋㅋ벳victory was Jamal Murray, not two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. Murray recorded 34 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds that day, and showed off high efficiency by making 13 out of 24 field shots. Murray’s performance was truly overwhelming. It was a performance that gave the Phoenix an advantage compared to Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, the main scorers.
In fact, Murray is a strong player in the playoffs. In the 2018-2019 season, which was his first playoff season, he performed well, averaging 21.3 points and 4.7 assists.
And the 2019-2020 season is the season when the famous ‘Bubble Murray’ was triggered. He boasted an average of 26.5 points, 6.6 assists, and a field goal success rate of 50.5% as one of the top NBA guards, and was talked about by many NBA fans.
Murray, who made a strong impression in the bubble, was unable to compete in the playoffs after suffering a major injury called a cruciate ligament rupture, and this season was his first playoff appearance since the 2019-2020 season. Murray is averaging 28.3 points and 6.8 assists this season in the playoffs as well. It is more developed than the bubble era.
The biggest difference between the 2019-2020 season and current Denver is the team strength. At the time, Denver relied heavily on Jokic and Murray, but now Denver is not. Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., Kentavius Caldwell Pope, etc. are evaluated as the best team in the NBA. Denver is one of the strongest contenders voted by pundits.
If Murray and Jokic play consistently, Denver’s championship won’t be a dream.
Phoenix manager Monty Williams also praised Murray’s tremendous performance that day. Williams acknowledged Murray, saying, “Murray’s performance was tremendous. We will change the way we defend against Murray a little. But the shot Murray put in that day was not a shot that could be blocked by anyone coming.”
Phoenix put all his energy into stopping Jokic. As a result, Yokichi control succeeded to some extent. However, Murray’s performance was helpless. If they don’t have a plan against Murray in their next game, it’s going to be difficult for Phoenix to win.
The second game between Denver, which has succeeded in overpowering the baseline, and Phoenix, which is aiming for a counterattack, will take place at Denver home on the 2nd.