By Justin Adams

(CBS4) – With the Denver Nuggets trying to hold off the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Jamal Murray took the reins and led the Nuggets on a 10-1 run late in the fourth quarter to help Denver get a 114-106 win. Murray scored a team-high 28 points with eight rebounds and 12 assists. After the game Nuggets Coach Michael Malone spoke about how Murray is becoming one of the best players in the NBA.

Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. (credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

“What I’ve seen from Jamal this year, aside from the growth defensively, which has been tremendous, I know every night what I’m getting from Jamal,” Malone said. “Last year it was I know what I’m getting from Nikola (Jokic), what kind of game will Jamal have? That’s no longer the case.

“We have two superstars in Nikola and Jamal and a lot of really good talented players behind them.”

Murray has blossomed to stardom on the playoff stage. In the first round against the Utah Jazz he averaged 31.5 points, including three games where he scored 50, 42, and 50 points. In the next round against the Los Angeles Clippers he averaged dropped to 22.5 points but he scored 40 points in the Game 7 win.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive. Be aggressive with my shot. Be aggressive going to the rim,” Murray said after Game 3 according to USA Today.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebound away from Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando on Tuesday.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebound away from Jamal Murray. (credit: AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Murray’s basketball roots were grown in Kitchener, Ontario. The Canadian would play at Grand River Collegiate Institute in Kitchener and later he would transfer to Athlete Institute Basketball Academy in Orangeville. Murray plans to represent the Canada Men’s National Basketball Team in the now-postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Playing for my country is always an honour and I want to take the step and leadership role to commit to @canadabasketball this summer. I want to play my part to help push our team into the Olympics and compete at the highest world stage. Let’s go Canada,” Murray Tweeted last November.

Murray’s is following a trend of Canadian basketball players that are making noise in the NBA. In the 2019 NBA Draft, six Canadians were selected led by RJ Barrett who was picked third overall to the New York Knicks. There has also been at least one Canadian selected in the last 10 NBA Drafts.

Two-time MVP Steve Nash and Bob Houbregs are the only two Canadians in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Last season the Toronto Raptors, Canada’s only NBA team, won the championship for the first time in their franchise history.

Last offseason, Murray signed a 5-year, $170 million deal, which was the richest contract given to a Canadian player. He looks to earn every penny as he hopes to lead the Nuggets to their first NBA title in franchise history.

“Coming from Canada, I’ve always had people doubt me or doubt my ability,” Murray said according to Forbes Magazine. “We’re just going to keep letting our game talk.”

The Nuggets will look to tie the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Justin Adams

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