Kyrie Irving branded Jamal Murray’s last-gasp 3-point attempt as a “bull— move” after the Celtics’ loss to the Nuggets on Monday in Denver.
Despite 31 points from Irving, the Nuggets moved to 9-1 with a 115-107 home victory courtesy of Murray, who scored a career-high 48.
That accomplishment was not without controversy, though, as Irving took exception to Murray’s attempt at a deep 3-pointer as time expired when the outcome of the game already was certain.
Irving caught the missed attempt, refused to shake hands with Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez, who Irving knows from time together with the Cavaliers, and heaved the ball far into the crowd before storming off the court.
“The ball deserves to go in the crowd after a bull— move like that. So I threw it in the crowd,” Irving told reporters (via NBC Sports Boston). “I mean, what kind of competitor wouldn’t it bother? I understand if we fouled him, going to the free-throw line.
“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. Obviously, I was pissed at the game, but it’s time to decompress and move on. Congratulations to him having 48 points. He did it in a great fashion against us.
“Our defense has to be better, especially against a player like that in the pick-and-roll. He was the primary concern and he made us pay in certain instances of making some tough shots and some tough layups.”
— NBA (@NBA) November 6, 2018
Murray, who made five 3-pointers, was apologetic after the game, insisting he had only wanted to reach 50 points, having missed a previous attempt to get to the milestone shortly before.
“I think my emotions took over, as it normally does,” the 21-year-old said (via ESPN.com). “No disrespect to the Boston organization and fans with that shot – I just had in my mind that I was going to go 50, and I think everybody kind of understood that was what I was trying to do.
“I really wasn’t meaning no disrespect. I know half the team over there, so no hard feelings.
“Everybody knew I was trying to go for 50 at that point. That was the problem. I didn’t mean no disrespect. My emotions just took over… I just lose myself sometimes.”
If Nuggets coach Michael Malone’s reaction to the shot was an indicator, don’t look for Murray to take that kind of late open look in the future.
“He’s got to learn, and we talked about it, not taking that shot,” Malone said (via The Athletic). “And he’s young, he’s still learning. You never want to disrespect anyone. I think it wasn’t disrespect. He was trying to get 50 points, which you understand, but our veterans hit him, talked to him, and it’s something he’ll learn from.”
The Celtics’ second straight defeat left them at 6-4 for the young season, with a road game against the Suns up next on Thursday.