Western Notes: Murray, Doncic, Lakers, Fertitta

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is confident the team can win the NBA championship this season, explaining his thoughts to reporters on a Zoom call last week.

“We know we can go win the title,” Murray said, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “Me and Joker (Nikola Jokic) have been in Denver this whole time, working out.

“Why not?” Murray later replied upon being asked whether Denver could win it all. “We have proven to be one the best teams year in and year out since we have been building. We have beaten good teams consistently. We shouldn’t have lost to Portland (last year in the Western Semifinals). That was more on us, our inexperience and they are a good team. But we don’t think that there is a team that can beat us in a seven-game series when we are playing at our best.”

The Nuggets are 43-22 on the season, good for the third-best record in the Western Conference behind the Lakers (49-14) and Clippers (44-20). Murray’s confidence lies in the team’s offensive capabilities, coupled with how Jokic has slimmed down significantly during quarantine.

“If we can just find that consistency and play at a high level,” Murray said of the Nuggets’ biggest issue. “When me and Joker are on, I don’t think there is anybody that is going to stop us. And if they do, then good game.”

Denver has consistently been one of the NBA’s best regular-season teams in recent seasons, though the franchise has failed to achieve playoff success. The Nuggets will be among the 22 teams slated to play in Orlando when the league resumes later this summer.

There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:

  • Barring a new setback or injury, Mavericks star Luka Doncic will be healthy for the NBA’s restart, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. Doncic has dealt with a sprained ankle, an illness and various thumb and wrist injuries in 2020. Caplan also examines other Mavs-related notes, including the team’s starting lineup and who could be a potential X-factor in the playoffs.
  • The Lakers will be ready to build on their previous hot streak once the NBA returns, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Los Angeles was firing on all cylinders before the season was suspended, winning 11 of their its 13 games and holding a 49-14 record. “There will be a lot of focus for the Lakers and all the teams on basketball only, with the family not being there right away,” an official for one NBA team told Turner. “I think that they will be really in-tuned. I think the basketball will be sloppy in the beginning, but it’ll be good as it goes along.”
  • Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta discussed a number of subjects in an interview with Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, including his team’s title hopes, the NBA return, and more. Houston is among the 22 teams set to return in Orlando this summer, playing an unprecedented version of small-ball before the season was officially halted.
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9 thoughts on “Western Notes: Murray, Doncic, Lakers, Fertitta

  1. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Well it is nice to see confidence from young Jamal Murray and he can score as well.
    Unlike Boring Ben Simmons, who can’t shoot and doesn’t want to shoot

  2. OCTraveler

    Hoping that one or more superstars say “Hell no, I won’t go! … My health and safety are worth more than your abbreviated ‘season’ at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.”

    Always thought this plan was “Mickey Mouse” so the choice of venue was highly appropriate.

    • I can’t understand why other people has to work and they should say “i don’t play, my health (?) is more important, but please, gimme my salary”

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    Denver is a good team. Not good enough. Clippers are the deepest team. I see Clippers and Bucks in Finals. It should be very competitive. Now if Clippers and Lakers are in different brackets. It will be interesting. I don’t see Lakers beating Bucks.

    • Whats the team with the biggest home advantage? Maybe mile-city. So playing without that…

  4. wagner13

    Jokic looks to be in tip-top shape. That’ll help him to stay on the court longer, meaning the Nuggets could be a team to look out for

    • x%sure

      Way to get the headline point.
      Jokic’s fitness is one of the most important questions about what the best team will be… after all he hasn’t been the best at that, and he is one of the most crucial to success. I have the expectation that most of the top players will be ready. It’s the medium players that may have given up a bit, thinking, what’s the difference.

  5. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Jeff Green was playing great in his first 10 games with the Rockets. They can easily go 9-deep with him in the lineup along with Westbrook, Harden, Gordon, Covington, Tucker, Rivers, McLemore, and House. A lot of other teams (like the Warriors) had a lot of success with lineups that were about the same size as the Rockets current one.

    Their original Death Lineup, before the Hamptons Five, featured players who are 6-3, 6-6, 6-6, 6-6, and 6-8. How is that so different from the Rockets current lineup of players who are 6-3, 6-3, 6-5, 6-5, and 6-7?

  6. harden-westbrook-mvps

    It’s great that D’Antoni will finally use a 9-man rotation with plenty of guys who can give him quality minutes, distributed something like this: Harden-34, Westbrook-33, Tucker-33, Covington-32, Gordon-28, Jeff Green-24, Rivers-23, House-20, McLemore-13

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