The 2020 NBA Playoffs have been awesome. A big part of that has been young stars ascending to new levels and doing incredible things on the league's biggest stage. One of those guys - possibly the main guy - is Jamal Murray. He has been a revelation.
Murray has had some incredible moments and games during the bubble playoffs. He's helped his team come back from two 3-1 deficits. He scored 40 in a Game 7 against one of the favorites to win the title. He scored 50 points. Twice.
Then there are the highlights. He's been a Stephen Curry-level flamethrower from three. Even the shots that didn't work out were spectacular. On Thursday he added two career-retrospective highlights to his reel. The biggest one was the up-and-under righty finish around LeBron James that everyone is comparing to one of Michael Jordan's most famous highlights.
The only difference is that Murray did it with a defender waiting for him at the rim. His was probably the tougher shot. People will argue about it. When that's over, they should probably take a look back at the left-handed midrange jumper he took while fading to his left.
How is that fair? Only a few guys in the league would have the confidence to try that. Even fewer could pull it off. And both of those might have been overshadowed by a shot he made in the first quarter which was waved off.
I'm sorry, what was that? He shot it over LeBron James while facing the wrong basket and getting fouled? Unfair. And it was also reminiscent of a famous Michael Jordan shot. Even without that hoop, Murray scored 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting. And he went 0-for-3 from three. He did it all from just about everywhere. He was aggressive and it seemed like every time you looked up he was scoring despite the fact that he only took 20 shots.
Now comes the tough part. Down 3-1 for the third straight series. If 3-1 was tough against the Utah Jazz and impossible against the Los Angeles Clippers, well, there's just no way this time. Not against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. If Murray and Nikola Jokic are able to do this Murray will have to break out a Jordan shrug because words won't do it justice.
And if this is the end of the line for the 2020 Bubble Nuggets, thank you, Jamal Murray. Remember that Jordan didn't make the NBA Finals until he was 28 years old in his seventh season. You have become a legitimate star and are ahead of schedule at 23. Fearless and exciting and equally as skilled. It's been awesome to watch.