DENVER (AP) – Jamal Murray just nodded when asked if this might be the most confident he’s ever been.
Nothing else really needed to be said.
Murray had 33 points and Nikola Jokic recorded his 17th triple-double of the season, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 134-117 win over the short-handed Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
“Jamal, his greatness is on full display,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who campaigned for Murray to be added to the All-Star roster should a replacement be necessary.
Murray scored 17 of his points in a pivotal third quarter, when the Nuggets broke open a tight game with a 16-0 run. “Guys are shooting well,” Murray explained. “Everybody.”
Jokic had another big night with 22 points, 16 assists and 14 rebounds.
The reigning two-time MVP had a triple-double by the midway mark of the third quarter as the Nuggets remain unbeaten this season when he reaches the plateau.
With that performance, Jokic is now averaging a triple-double for the year. It’s latest into a season a player six-foot-11 or taller has averaged a triple-double in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats and Info. “He’s good at everything,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
“Literally every time he has the ball, everybody is a threat.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 18 points for the Western Conference-leading Nuggets, who improved to 24-4 at home.
Stephen Curry had 28 points and Jordan Poole added 22 on a night when Golden State hit 19 three-pointers.
The Warriors started off hot – building an 11-point lead in the second quarter – before losing steam. They lost in overtime a night earlier at Minnesota.
The reigning NBA champions fall to 26-26. No panic, though.
“I’m very optimistic we can get it turned around,” Curry said.
“But we do have to address certain issues with our team, whether it’s performance issues or whether it’s trying to find the right combinations.”
Both teams were missing key components.
The Warriors were without Klay Thompson (injury management) and Draymond Green, who was a late scratch with tightness in his right calf. Denver didn’t have Aaron Gordon due to a sore ankle.
Jokic was just named the Western Conference’s player of the month. He picked up where he left off after averaging 24 points and 11.3 assists in January.
“There’s a reason he’s a two-time MVP and obviously a front-runner for a third one,” Kerr said.