The Denver Nuggets had a very memorable season in 2020-21. They overcame a pair of 3-1 deficits in the first two rounds of the playoffs en route to a conference finals appearance. That marked the first time they accomplished this feat since the 2008-09 season.
Although Denver Nuggets lost the series in five games to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers, the future looked bright for this team. Unfortunately, for the Nuggets, that narrative has taken a turn for the worst. First, the Nuggets suffered a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. The bad news doesn’t end there, though.
On top of that, Nuggets’ guard Jamal Murray sustained and torn ACL injury in the loss as well, as reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Murray sustained an injury late in the fourth quarter when he landed awkwardly after driving to the basket. As of right now, there’s no timetable for his return. If you’re a Nuggets fan, you’re probably wondering why he was still in the game with the outcome already in doubt. But that is a discussion for another day.
After a somewhat slow start to the 2020-21 NBA season, the Nuggets were right in the playoff race once again. Despite suffering their second straight loss, they have won eight of their last 10 games and 17 of their last 20 overall. Their 34-20 record is good enough for the fourth-best record in a competitive western conference.
Murray has increased his scoring output every season he has been in the league. On the heels of an impressive postseason run, Murray was in the midst of another solid campaign. He has put together averages of 21.2 points (a career high), to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 48 games for the Nuggets this season.
Additionally, the Nuggets star guard is shooting 47.7 percent from the floor and 40.8 percent from beyond the arc. Both of these conversion rates are career-highs as well.
On the positive side, the Nuggets still have plenty of talent on the roster. Nikola Jokic is averaging close to a triple-double (26.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per contest). And he leads the team in steals with 1.5 per game.
Second-year forward Michael Porter Jr. is averaging 17.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest on shooting splits of .534/.421/.736. It is also worth noting that Will Barton (12.8 PPG), Aaron Gordon (11.3 PPG), and Monte Morris (10.4 PPG) are also averaging double figures.
On the flip side, the Nuggets were hoping to duplicate another deep postseason run. And losing their second-leading scorer is a devastating blow to this team’s title hopes.