The best night of Jamal Murray’s young career was derailed earlier this week when a 48-point performance ended with a 3-point attempt that had the Boston Celtics livid with the guard after the game.
No one was angrier than Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, who not only blasted Murray after the game and refused to shake hands with a Denver assistant, but also heaved the game ball into the Pepsi Center crowd.
Kyrie flings ball into the crowd after Murray attempts to score 50. Probably not the best way to handle things BUT it's definitely the most entertaining.
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) November 6, 2018
You can imagine that was a game ball Murray might have wanted to hold onto, given he had just led the Nuggets to a massively important win over the Celtics while posting a new career high in points.
Well, we’re happy to report that Murray has been reunited with the ball thanks to the generosity of a young fan named Park.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 10, 2018
Why was Kyrie Irving angry at Jamal Murray?
Irving’s postgame beef with Murray came down to the very tired subject of the game’s unwritten rules.
With the game well in hand at 115-107 with time expiring, Murray sat at 48 points and seemed to make a rather obvious attempt to hang 50 on the Celtics. With even Nuggets coach Mike Malone telling Murray to hold the ball, the 21-year-old instead fired an uncontested 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) November 6, 2018
It was an ill-advised shot, and the Celtics to pretty far lengths to make sure Murray knew it. Once Irving gave the ball a good hurl, the complaining continued postgame. Via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Irving had harsh words for Murray, who had just set a new scoring record for Canadian-born players:
“The ball deserves to go in the crowd after a bulls— move like that. So I threw it in the crowd.”
Irving wasn’t alone on the Celtics in his anger, with Marcus Morris calling the shot “unprofessional”, Jaylen Brown saying it was “disrespectful” and Marcus Smart warning Murray to “don’t do that s— again.” Murray himself even ended up apologizing for going for 50.
Irving was later fined $25,000 for throwing the ball into the Pepsi Center crowd, a small footnote from a night that had some wondering whether his and the Celtics’ criticism of Murray was less about protecting the sanctity of basketball and more about misplaced frustration from a humbling night for the team.
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