Buckle up guys, Game 7 is on its way! After Denver’s 117-109 win against the Jazz, their first-round matchup is set to be decided on Tuesday’s first-ever win or leave the bubble game. For NBA fans, these are great news, as we’re up for another installment of the Jamal Murray–Donovan Mitchell epic postseason duel – the one that has entered the sphere of historical.
Yesterday’s game was no different. Mitchell finished the game with 44 points on 14-25 shooting, with Murray tallying 50 points of his own, hitting nine shots from the three-point line, and converting 17 of his 24 field goal attempts.
With his Sunday night performance, Jamal joined Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Donovan Mitchell as only the fourth guy to have multiple 50 point performances in the same playoff series. It was in Game 4 when both Murray and Mitchell had 50 point outings, making it the first game in NBA postseason history that opposing players each reached that threshold. Murray did it again in Game 6, as Mitchell opened the series with 57 points – third-most in NBA playoff history.
Michael Jordan was the first one to do it, during his ’88 first-round matchup against the Cavs. MJ had back-to-back 50+ point outings, as he led the Bulls to a 3-2 series victory over Cleveland. Michael first dropped 50 to lead Chicago to a 104-93 Game 1 victory, following it up with a 55 point performance to put the Bulls up 2-0 in the series. The Cavs then defended their home court, as the series came back to Chicago for a deciding Game 5. The Bulls came out on top 106-101, advancing past Cleveland following MJ’s historic two-game stretch.
Fast forward to ’01, Allen Iverson joined Michael as only the second guy with multiple 50-point performances in a series. The Answer did it during his second-round clash against the Raptors, helping the Sixers advance to the ECF and eventually to the Finals where they faced the Kobe-Shaq LA Lakers who beat them in five.
Iverson had a 54 points Game 2 performance, as Philly tied the series at 1 game apiece. He did it again in Game 5, dropping 52 points on 21-for-32 from the field and 8-for-14 from three, leading the 76ers to a 33-point victory over Toronto. The Raptors were able to force Game 7, but their efforts were in vain as Philly beat them 88-87 to advance to the Conference Finals.
For nearly two decades, no one was able to do what MJ and A.I. had done. And it wasn’t for the lack of great scorers nor some epic postseason matchups. Instead, two 23-year-olds are doing it. Two guys who wouldn’t have been anyone’s picks to do it are rewriting history books and inserting their names with the basketball elites. And they are set to face off in a big finale, with the bragging rights of winning this historic first-round matchup on the table. Who will come out on top – it’s impossible to predict at this point. All I know is Tuesday can’t come soon enough.