Murray Advances to Second Round of Skills Competition, but Falls to Dinwiddie
LOS ANGELES – Afterward, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray had a few takeaways from his performance in the Skills Competition on All-Star Saturday night at the Staples Center.
Right off the top? He wants to be back in the skills competition.
“I want to do the skills again,” Murray said. “It’s a fun event. A lot of people want to pass over the skills and just go to the dunk contest or the 3-point contest. But to watch it and be in it are two different things. It was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun and the guys had a lot of fun as well.”
He smiled through it all, but quietly seethed a bit. Murray wants to win. Period. And he was in the lead in his second-round matchup, needing only to bury a 3-point shot to beat former University of Colorado star Spencer Dinwiddie. But Murray’s shot rimmed off, and Dinwiddie nailed his first attempt to win.
And that brings us to Takeaway No. 2: The pressure to make that 3-point shot when you get to the line first is greater than it appears to be.
“It’s like pulling up for a transition three when no one is around, you know?” Murray said. “I had my opportunities – I can’t say I didn’t have my opportunities. So, they just didn’t fall.”
Murray advanced to the second round after beating L.A. Clippers star Lou Williams in the first-round matchup. Murray excelled in the dribbling around obstacles and in completing the pass. Williams was off the mark on a couple of his passes, which put Murray in the lead. He used that lead to win.
Which leads to Takeaway No. 3: Sometimes the things you’re concerned about most don’t turn out to be problems.
Passing worried Murray most. As such, he practiced and practiced and practice so he would be ready when the competition started. It turned out not to be an issue at all.
“That was the easiest part,” Murray said, smiling. “I came out thinking the pass was going to be really hard. Some guys did struggle with it. They did get behind because of it. But the pass is just as important as the shot; the first round I got lucky, my ball went in before Lou’s and in the second round I just missed my first attempt. So, it is what it is.”
Now Murray gets to truly rest for a few days before the Nuggets return to practice on Wednesday night and resume playing with home game against San Antonio on Friday.
“It’s been a lot,” Murray said. “Hopefully I can rest my body for the next few days I have, and get back to relaxing and taking care of myself and be ready in time for games.”
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.