August 30th. Game 6. Denver Nuggets (3) vs Utah Jazz (7)
Or should I say Jamal Murray vs Donovan Mitchell? That wasn’t completely true (they both had some help from their teams), but these two are definitely stealing the show. If you read my first round preview, you know that I had no interest in watching this matchup. And here I am, unable to look away for a second. It’s been such a good duel between the two of them. I will try and break down this game without just talking about Murray, no promises though.
Denver are fighting for their playoff lives and Utah are hoping to advance to the next round. Both coaches have preached before hand that defense is going to be key in this match. So why wasn’t I surprised when both teams came out with lacklustre defense, once again? Brian Anderson states early on how neither team has missed you and Chris Webber responds with “that’s because no one has played defense yet”. Absolute savage, but 100% true. I had such a good laugh. Glad I wasn’t the only one to notice.
At the quarter break, Coach Malone says that their is a lot of room for them to improve on defense. Duh. He even has a small laugh about it, I don’t know what is funny about having no defensive effort in a game 6. Eventually Utah decide to play a little bit of defense, but it has little effect on slowing down Denver’s offense. Specifically, Murray. Is he good or what? Denver’s bench finally (big shout out to Plumlee) helped spark their defense and they had a small lead at half time. Did I mention Murray was good?
Honestly, most of the rest of the game felt like it was Murray and Mitchell just trading buckets. Obviously, that’s not completely true. Jokic scored well and moved the ball well. Jerami Grant hit some big shots. How about Murray though? He finishes with 50! Again! On 71% shooting and 75% from deep. 9 triples. Just wow. This is amazing stuff. And he follows that up with an emotional and inspiring post game interview. What an absolute legend. I always liked Murray, but I am all in on this kid now. He has a fan for life in me.
Another double/double for Gobert. He also destroyed Torrey Craig’s face (see below) and a chair. The chair was a really bad look. I heard it was only one day away from retiring. I didn’t like how he was arguing with his teammates like that. It’s hard enough to win in the NBA, it’s even harder when your team is divided. Conley and Clarkson each had some important buckets. Ingles was icy again, but there is one play I want to talk about. Ingles has the ball at the 3 point line and delivers a very good looking pass fake to the corner. He shakes the defender, pulls the ball back and then shoots the ugliest brick you will ever see. How about Mitchell though? 44 points on 56% shooting. He also had 9 triples on 69% outside.
3 games today, which means I have had 3 opportunities to question the officiating. I don’t enjoy this. I’ve already stated that I understand their job is hard. We need some consistency though. And enough reviews already! If you didn’t see the play I’m talking about, have a look. It occurred with about 1:40 left in the third quarter. Gobert was going up for a rebound and elbowed Craig in the face. 100% accident. It’s just guys trying to grab a rebound in the paint. Jokic gets called for a foul (and is unhappy about it) for hitting Gobert with a karate chop. Play stops on the foul. Craig is a bit busted up and bleeding. Refs go to review to see if their is a flagrant on the play. Thankfully, they deem it to be just a basketball play. What I don’t understand, is how come a foul wasn’t called on Gobert after the review? Contact doesn’t have to be deliberate for a foul to be called. I understand how they didn’t see it in real time, but what is the point of the review system if they don’t make the right call? Shouldn’t the foul on Jokic been removed because technically the play would of stopped on the Gobert foul (that apparently wasn’t a foul)? I can’t keep up anymore.
I love watching Murray and Mitchell go at it, especially in the fourth quarter. These two have been the definition of clutch in this series. They give me goosebumps and it reminds me of why I love this game. These are the moments you watch for. I’m so glad we get a game 7. I will be shamelessly cheering for Jamal Murray, I’m not ready for him to go home just yet. I’m gonna call it a day there and go and rewatch this game again.