Tuesday, September 1:
(6)Utah Jazz vs. (3)Denver Nuggets (-1)
- Moneyline: DEN -115
- Over/Under: 218.5
- Coverage: ABC at 9:00pm EST
It’s only right that the most turbulent playoff series thus far in the bubble heads to a seventh game. In the nine days since Utah seized a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, Jamal Murray has embroiled himself with both the Jazz on the court and the fight for justice off the court. His 50-point performance on Sunday marked the lengthiest string of consecutive 40-point games in a playoff series since 1993 when Michael Jordan recorded four such games, but Murray’s success was admittedly inspired less by history and more by his peers’ rejuvenated pursuit of equality during the league’s brief hiatus last week.
“We found something we’re fighting for as the NBA, as a collective unit…and I use these shoes as a symbol to keep fighting all around the world.”
– Jamal Murray after Denver's Game 6 win. pic.twitter.com/rkwPn9QuHX
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 31, 2020
As Murray and the Nuggets strive to complete their comeback over Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz, Monkey Knife Fight has basketball fans covered with a great Rapidfire matchup for tonight’s win or go home game.
Points Matchup: Donovan Mitchell (-2.5) vs. Jamal Murray
While Jamal Murray has garnered much of the media attention this series, Donovan Mitchell is playing equally stellar basketball. He’s averaging 38.7 points this series compared to Murray’s 34 per game, and he’s scoring with a relatively sustainable field goal percentage, unlike Murray who has knocked down 64.2% of his shots from the field and 62.9% from beyond the arc over his last three starts. Murray’s recent clips are far above his season averages of 18.5 PPG/45.6 FG%/34.6 FG3%, indicating that his shooting performance is bound to regress back to the mean sooner rather than later.
Even a slight regression in Murray’s efficiency on Sunday night would greatly hinder his chances of outpacing Mitchell in this matchup. For evidence of how disastrous Murray’s substandard shooting performances can be, look no further than games two and three, when he mustered just 14 and 12 points and got lapped by Mitchell despite receiving nearly equal playing time. Murray certainly commands respect given his bevy of impressive showings as of late, but Mitchell’s lower standard deviation of points this series and consistently higher volume of scoring this season makes the All-Star the more viable pick in a high-pressure game seven.
Pick: Donovan Mitchell -2.5
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