LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — (AP) — Jamal Murray scored 10 of his 36 points in overtime on a day Donovan Mitchell erupted for a Jazz playoff-record 57 points and the Denver Nuggets beat Utah 135-125 on Monday in Game 1 of their first-round series.
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.
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 also had seven assists.
It was no surprise this game went down to the wire. Denver went 3-0 against Utah this season but won by a combined margin of 11 points, including a 134-132 double-overtime thriller on Aug 8.
Murray and Mitchell stood out in this game — both for their play and their shoes. Wearing neon green shoes, Murray had 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Donning highlighter yellow sneakers, Mitchell had 22 points in the fourth and 17 in the second.
Utah was whistled for a pair of technical fouls with 4:33 remaining in the first half. Jordan Clarkson picked up one for jawing at officials. Then, just before Murray was about to shoot the free throw, coach Quin Snyder was called for another.
Murray made both free throws.
Jazz: Rookie F Juwan Morgan made his first start. He scored his first playoff basket on a 3-pointer with 7:28 remaining. … Utah was without reserve F/C Ed Davis (left knee).
Nuggets: Starters Will Barton III (knee) and Gary Harris (hip) were held out. They have yet to play in the bubble.
Conley announced the birth of his son, Elijah Michael Conley, on social media late Sunday. The Jazz are in communication with him regarding his status moving forward.
In accordance with the NBA’s COVID-19 policies, Conley is subject to a quarantine of at least four days when he returns to the bubble. He could miss at least the first two games of the series.
His team understands.
“I know he’s with us in mind and spirit, but his body needs to be with his baby and Mary,” Snyder said. “We’re thrilled he’s able to experience that.”
For his pregame Zoom chat with the media, Nuggets coach Michael Malone wore a black “Justice for Elijah McClain” shirt. There’s an investigation into the Aurora (Colorado) Police Department, whose officers used a chokehold on McClain before the 23-year-old Black man died last year.
Snyder wore a shirt with a quote attributed to Rosa Parks: “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”