Jamal Murray demanded the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley start giving the Denver Nuggets “some damn respect” after their Western Conference semi-final heroics.
The Nuggets dominated the Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in Orlando on Tuesday to progress from an all-or-nothing Game 7, becoming the first team to recover from a 3-1 deficit twice in the same postseason.
Few tipped the third-seeded Nuggets to get past a Clippers team comprising the likes of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, particularly when the team found themselves in such a precarious position.
“You got [Shaquille O’Neal], you got Charles [Barkley], I think Zach Lowe … Stephen A. [Smith], all y’all better start giving this team some damn respect,” Murray said. “Because we put in the work. We shouldn’t have been down 3-1, but to come back down 3-1 against the Clippers is a big achievement, so it’s fun just to change that narrative.”
Murray was influential for the Nuggets, putting up 40 points, and he feels the star-studded Clippers failed to cope with Denver’s enthusiasm.
“We’ve got a lot of energy, and we brought it and they didn’t match that,” Murray said. “They’ve got who they got. They’ve got a talented squad. They’ve got Doc [Rivers], too. They’ve got assistant coaches who are about to be head coaches.
“We know what they have, we just outworked them a little bit with our young legs.”
Nikola Jokic had promised head coach Michael Malone one of two presents on his 49th birthday prior to the game: “I’m either going to get you home or get you to the Western Conference Finals.”
After it proved to be the latter, Jokic said the Nuggets are relishing proving the doubters wrong.
“Nobody wants us here. Nobody thinks we can do something. We proved ourselves and proved [to] everybody we can do something,” he said. “This is a really interesting team. We don’t have many superstars.”
Next up is a daunting task against an in-form Los Angeles Lakers side led by LeBron James, but Jokic said: “They gotta worry about us, too.”
Source: Read Full Article