DENVER — Because the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder assembled for a soar ball with 33.Eight seconds to go in Denver’s 109-98 victory Friday, Russell Westbrook and Jamal Murray received cross with one another, bringing each groups collectively for a small squabble.
After a evaluation, each gamers had been assessed technical fouls.
“I used to be standing in my spot, he tried to step over me, after which he shoved me first,” Murray stated. “I suppose they had been shedding or no matter, so I do not know, ask him.”
Mentioned Westbrook: “He was in my manner.”
Paul George and Torrey Craig confronted off for the soar ball, with Westbrook and Murray jostling for place on the high of the important thing. Murray stood his floor and Westbrook shoved him, bringing on some mild pushing and loads of jawing. Westbrook talked trash to seemingly everybody on the ground.
“Like I stated, I did not do something,” Murray stated. “It was in all probability as a result of he was shedding.”
Westbrook has an extended historical past with the Nuggets and their followers in Denver, with run-ins extending even to their mascot, Rocky. Final season, a fan ran onto the court docket after a game-winning shot by Gary Harris to yell in Westbrook’s face. Friday’s recreation had to be paused momentarily within the first half as each Westbrook and Steven Adams engaged in some speaking with a courtside fan.
Requested if Murray stated one thing that triggered their skirmish Friday, Westbrook stated, “I actually do not know. It do not actually matter. It doesn’t suggest nothing.”
After briefly cooling down, the kerfuffle began to churn again up between the 2, prompting Nuggets coach Mike Malone to run onto the ground and seize Murray, pulling him away from the center of it.
“Simply being sensible,” Malone stated. “We’re up [nine] with 35 seconds to go, and so they’re making an attempt to perhaps get underneath our pores and skin, get us to fall for a tech. Cannot afford to do this. It is a superb line. He is an emotional participant. Use your emotion, however do not let it get away from you.”
Requested whether or not Westbrook had gotten underneath his pores and skin, Murray stated, “We’re up, there’s 30 seconds left. What would you like me to do? I am not doing something. … If he did that a bit earlier, perhaps I might’ve had extra factors. I do not know.”
Murray has had a couple of dust-ups with opposing groups and is thought for enjoying with emotion, however Malone stated he likes Murray taking part in with some fireplace.
“He has to,” Malone stated. “That is when he performs his finest. Quite a lot of guys cannot play with emotion. Some guys can. Jamal, for me being across the recreation for a very long time, is likely one of the higher gamers that when he will get emotional, he turns into a greater participant. He thrives on that emotion. We’re creating a persona. And for a younger workforce to be doing what we’re doing. The boldness is there and I feel the toughness is beginning to present itself.”
Murray has been coping with a shin contusion, and it was initially unclear how a lot he’d play towards the Thunder. He performed 33 minutes, scoring 19 factors on Eight-of-15 taking pictures, plus 9 rebounds. He was massive down the stretch as OKC’s protection stiffened, hitting a few massive jumpers to assist seal the sport that vaulted the Nuggets again atop the West.
“We’re not going to again down from anyone,” Malone stated. “Certainly not are we the Unhealthy Boys from again within the ’80s, the sport has modified, however now we have developed a confidence, now we have developed a toughness and a resiliency. That is our dwelling court docket. We had 31 dwelling wins right here final yr. We’re not going to let anybody are available right here and push us round.”
The Nuggets are 2-Zero towards the Thunder this season.