NBA playoffs: Nuggets edge Jazz despite Mitchell’s 57 points
Jamal Murray showed up for his postgame Zoom call wearing a shirt featuring the image of boxing great Muhammad Ali.
Almost fitting, given the Denver Nuggets withstood blow after blow from Donovan Mitchell before landing the knockout punch.
Murray scored 10 of his 36 points in overtime on a day Mitchell erupted for a Jazz playoff-record 57 points and the Nuggets beat Utah 135-125 on Monday in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series.
“It was just lights, camera, action and come on we’re trying to get this win,” Murray explained.
Nikola Jokic finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds for Denver. He had a chance to win it in regulation at the buzzer, but his right-handed hook shot over Utah’s Rudy Gobert was off the mark. Murray took over in the extra period, sealing the game on a 3-pointer with 46.8 seconds remaining.
Game 2 is Wednesday.
Lakers star LeBron James says being in the Orlando bubble because of the coronavirus presents the most challenging NBA title run he’s faced in his career.
Mitchell was the star of the show in the absence of Mike Conley, who left the NBA bubble to return to Ohio for the birth of his son. Mitchell’s scoring spree surpassed the Jazz mark of 50 by Karl Malone on April 22, 2000, against Seattle.
Mitchell was 19 of 33 from the floor and 13 of 13 from the free-throw line. He made six three-pointers in 43 minutes, 14 seconds of work. He also had seven assists and nine rebounds.
“The biggest thing was just to try to make the right plays,” the 23-year-old said.
Mitchell’s offensive explosion was the third-most points scored in an NBA playoff game, trailing only Michael Jordan (63) and Elgin Baylor (61), according to Basketball Reference.
Celtics 109, 76ers 101: Jayson Tatum had career playoff highs of 32 points and 13 rebounds to help Boston beat Philadelphia in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Jaylen Brown scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and Kemba Walker added 19 points for the Celtics.
Joel Embiid had 26 points and 16 rebounds and Josh Richardson and Alec Burks each added 18 points for the 76ers. Philadelphia nearly pulled off the win without All-Star guard Ben Simmons, who is out indefinitely after left knee surgery.
Tatum scored 15 points in the second quarter to give the Celtics a 55-49 lead at halftime. The 76ers shot 56% in the first half, but the Celtics scored 16 points off the 76ers 13 turnovers.
Raptors 134, Nets 110: Fred VanVleet scored 30 points and led Toronto’s sizzling three-point attack as the defending NBA champions beat Brooklyn in the opening game of their first-round playoff series.
VanVleet went eight of 10 from three-point range and the Raptors shot 22 of 44 from beyond the arc as they maintained playoff intensity without any fans attending postseason games at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The Raptors’ 22 three-pointers matched a season high and set a franchise playoff record.
VanVleet had 11 assists with only one turnover, becoming the first Raptor in franchise history to combine 30-plus points and 10-plus assists in a playoff game.
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