On any other night, Jamal Murray’s 50-point performance in an elimination game would be heralded as an incandescent peak of basketball brilliance. His flair in a high-stakes moment was unforgettable, and typically he would have been surrounded by smiling Denver Nuggets teammates pouring water on his head, giggling and beaming with pride.
But last night, celebration was far from Murray’s mind. As TNT’s Jared Greenberg asked his first question and the fake crowd noise burbled away, Murray staggered in place, like a boxer refusing to relent. He stared at the ground and directed attention to his shoes, which had George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s faces sketched on the heel. Then he put both hands on his knees, bent at the waist, and tried to compose himself.