Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray throws heat bag on court during game, ‘unforgivable and dangerous’

Denver Nuggets point guard Jamaal Murray threw a heat bag onto the court during his team’s playoff loss Monday night, opening himself up to possible discipline for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Murray was sitting at the end of Denver’s bench when Timberwolves big man and fellow Kentucky Wildcats alum Karl-Anthony Towns drove for a layup with about 4:40 left in the second quarter.

Minnesota defeated defending champion Denver 106-80. Need a 2-0 lead in the conference semifinals. Murray left the dressing room before reporters could ask him about the incident.

In addition to Downs, Denver’s Reggie Jackson also came close to stepping on the Heat pack before Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope found the object and cleared it.

“It was unforgivable and dangerous,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said of Murray’s toss.

Finch didn’t see Murray bowl it and didn’t blame the umpires for missing it.

“I firmly believe it was a mistake and an oversight (by the authorities),” Finch said. “I’m sure there’s nothing intentional (missing it) by powering it. But of course it can’t be allowed to happen.”

Shortly after the heat bag was thrown, the public address announcer warned fans not to throw any objects on the ground. But Finch, even though he didn’t see Murray’s throw, knew it couldn’t have come from a fan.

“We tried to impress upon them (officials) that there wasn’t much heat back in the building,” Finch said. “So, it probably has to come from the bench, which they saw as logical.”

Murray’s frustration came as Minnesota was pulling away to an early double-digit lead that the Timberwolves would not relinquish.

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“I was the lead officer and I didn’t even notice it was on the ground or where it came from until Downs hit.” said team leader Mark Davies.

Had the umpires seen Murray throw it, he might have been called for a technical foul.

“We didn’t know it coming off the bench,” Davis said. “Had we known it was coming from the bench, we could have reviewed it under a hostile action trigger. The penalty would have been a technical foul.”

Asked after the game if he feared Murray might face league discipline, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he didn’t know how the Heat pack ended up on the floor.

“I knew there was a heating pack on the floor, but it wasn’t in my field of vision,” the coach said.

Murray may have regretted not making the call earlier in the game. No foul was called.

While Murray’s temper tantrums are unprecedented in NBA years, players and coaches losing their cool are nothing new.

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While the NBA did not immediately respond to NBC News requests for comment on possible penalties for Murray, analysts say a suspension is not only possible — but warranted.

“He (Murray) should be suspended for one game,” former NBA point guard Jay Williams said Tuesday on the ESPN morning show “Get Up.”

“It was an inch away from Karl-Anthony Towns, putting his right foot on that thing. It could have hurt him. He could have been out of the game. I understand it’s not exemplary, but I think it was an immature move by Jamaal Murray and it could have been a very offensive and bad thing.

Williams is not alone in his view.

“I’d be shocked if he wasn’t (suspended),” said fellow ESPN analyst Tim Lechler. “I don’t see how the league can’t suspend a player for throwing an object.”


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