Murray scores historic 50 as Nuggets down crumbling Cavs

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Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray (27) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers' Cedi Osman (16) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND – Not himself of late, Jamal Murray got a lecture from Nuggets coach Michael Malone about being more aggressive and not passing up open shots.

He listened — and launched.

Murray scored a career-high 50 points and became the first player in NBA history to get that many without trying a free throw as Denver adjusted to a schedule change by handing the Cleveland Cavaliers their ninth straight loss, 120-103 on Friday night.

Following the game, Murray was unaware that he had done something unique.

“I was just making my shots,” he said nonchalantly between sips of a postgame smoothie. “It's kind of cool to make history. It's a cool stat.”

Murray was cooler than cool. While All-Star starter Nikola Jokic added a triple-double on his birthday, it was Murray's night.

The smooth guard made 21 of 25 shots, including 8 of 10 3-pointers and scored 30 in the second half. He added six rebounds and two steals during 38 electrifying minutes.

“To do it as efficiently as he did it is really remarkable,” said Malone. “That's an incredible stat line.”