Kyrie Irving wasn’t feeling the fact that Jamal Murray tried to cap off his career-best performance with an additional three-point-shot as the ten players scattered around the Pepsi Center court resigned in the final seconds of the Nuggets’ 115-107 win over the Celtics in Denver on Monday night, November 6. So after the final buzzer, he grabbed the game ball that otherwise would have gone to Murray, and he flung it into the stands.
ESPN quotes Kyrie as having given credit to his 21-year-old opponent for taking advantage of Boston’s struggle to get around the pick and roll en route to his 48 points. “He did it in a great fashion against us,” Kyrie would tell reporters while lamenting about his team’s defensive woes. But although the 5-time NBA All-Star conceded that it was partly frustration that triggered his decision to deny Murray a memento to take home for the trophy shelf, he defended the move as in line with the unwritten rules that players ought to know better than to violate.
“What kind of competitor wouldn’t it bother?” said Kyrie. Moments later he finished saying his piece on the matter by adding that: “The ball deserves to go in the crowd after a bulls**t move like that. so I threw it in the crowd.”
Kyrie threw the ball into the crowd after Jamal Murray's attempt to make 50-points as the game ended pic.twitter.com/Vbx3oNxmaf
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 6, 2018
Coming into the cross-conference affair, Murray had been averaging 15.7 points per game for the 9-1 Nuggets. A fourth-quarter surge that saw him score 19 of his 48 points as, the Celtics missed 20 of their final 24 threes – proved timely for a home-team squad that came out of the half in an 18-point deficit. Thus, Murray gave the Denver Nuggets and their fans all that they could hope for down the stretch. During his locker room interview with the media, he confessed that he thought it would have been nice if he could come away with a little something for himself by achieving the half-century mark milestone.
“No disrespect to the Boston organization, the Boston fans for that last shot. I just had it in my mind I was going for 50,” he said. “I think everybody kind of understood that’s what I was trying to do. I really wasn’t meaning no disrespect. I know half the team over there, so no hard feelings.”
In April, SB Nation reported that the total of 10 different players to record 50-point games throughout 2017-18 was tied for the most in any single season. It wasn’t until November of last year that LeBron James and James Harden kicked the feat off with their own respective 50-point performances. Had Murray hit his final shot he would have been the fifth player to do so in 2018-19, and the season is just transitioning past October.