Jamal Murray catching fire after cold start

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(AP)

After Devin Booker’s strong rookie campaign last season, Jamal Murray — another Kentucky shooter — came into the league with unfair expectations and lots of attention. Coming off the bench in Denver, Murray had a rough start to the season, shooting 34 percent from the field and 30 percent from three in his first five games.

He has come alive in his past three games, though, and is really started to show how talented he is offensively.

Over that three game stretch, Murray is posting shooting splits of 58–69–89 and scored 20+ points in back-to-back games.

Murray’s first 20-point game came against Chicago, where had this beautiful stretch where he was truly the star in Denver.

He came out of the gate shooting, by the way. Here was his first shot of the night.

Coming off the bench with Jameer Nelson, Murray — as a combo guard — hasn’t had the opportunity to run many plays as the primary ball-handler. However, he showed a little bit of what he can do on the fast break.

Some young players don’t always stay active and interested in all facets of the game. Murray, however, stayed alert after a miss and it turned into a bucket for Nikola Jokic.

This was the best game of Murray’s young career, posting 24 points (9–of-13, 3-of-4 from three) and six rebounds.

The next night in Utah, Murray put up 23 points on a not-as-efficient 8-for-19 night, though he was 5-for-8 from behind the arc. Murray doubled up starter Will Barton’s minutes (35 to 17) in a blowout loss.

It’s a small sample size, but Murray is looking much improved at his great strength: scoring. After going through some early growing pains, he is looking really useful for a team that needs as much help as it can get as they make a run at the eighth seed.

As Emmanuel Mudiay goes through his own down stretch (back-to-back outings of 1-for-7 and 1-for-8 shooting) and Gary Harris hurting, coach Michael Malone should consider starting Murray (along with Jokic, but that’s neither here nor there) to give the starting unit more of a scoring punch.

Murray won’t stay this hot forever, but it’s at least nice to see him come out of his cold stretch and build some confidence as a 19-year-old rookie.

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Sports Journalism Graduate, IUPUI. Writing about money, business, electric vehicles, and more.

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