Did LeBron James foul Jamal Murray down the stretch of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals?
James seemed to hit Murray's arm with just under three minutes remaining of the Los Angeles Lakers' 114-108 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, but James wasn't whistled for a foul. The Lakers attempted 12 more free throws than the Nuggets and James took six more (14) than Murray, leading to Denver coach Mike Malone lamenting the disparity after the game.
Warriors forward Draymond Green argued Thursday there was a method to what the Nuggets perceived as madness. Green tweeted Thursday that Murray hasn't yet earned superstar treatment from the officials.
Murray, in his fourth NBA season and second run in the playoffs, seems to be getting close. The 23-year-old is averaging 26.9 points per game while shooting a Steph Curry-esque 51 percent from the field, 46.6 percent on 3-pointers and 89 percent at the free-throw line. Murray has three games with 40-plus points when facing elimination this postseason to boot.
But he doesn't have the same pedigree as James, a 17-year veteran, four-time MVP, three-time champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP. That success, according to Green, brings with it different treatment from the officials. In Green's eyes, Murray isn't there yet. Green doesn't think it's quite as sinister as some fans alleged.
If Murray and the Nuggets pull off a third straight comeback from a three-games-to-one deficit and beat James en route to the NBA Finals, the guard surely will have earned more respect from the officials.
It's clear he already has Green's.