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WATCH: Jamal Murray throws heat pack onto court during first half of Nuggets vs. Timberwolves Game 2

Amid an awful start, Jamal Murray couldn’t contain his frustration … but somehow got away with it in the moment. Late in the first half, with the Timberwolves already leading by 17 points and Murray on the bench, the Nuggets star threw a heat pack onto the court mid-play.

Murray had been talking with officials throughout the half, and in this instance, even from the bench, he appeared to disagree, as Karl-Anthony Towns regained possession after a Michael Porter Jr. block. Towns would eventually score a few seconds later, and luckily no one got hurt slipping on the heat pack. The game was stopped momentarily to clear the heat pack from the court, but no discipline was handed out by the officiating crew.

After the Nuggets’ 106-80 loss, head coach Michael Malone was asked about the incident. 

“I have not been aware of that, so I really can’t comment,” Malone said. “If that is the case, we’ll see what happens, but I wasn’t aware of that. I knew a heating pack was on the floor but it was not in my field of vision.”

Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch also said he didn’t see Murray throw anything, but when he found out about the incident he found it “inexcusable.”

“I didn’t actually see it happen but when it was explained to me, the referees didn’t see it either,” Finch said. “They are not able to issue a technical unless they see it. We tried to impress upon them that there probably aren’t many fans in the building that have a heat pack, so it probably had to come from the bench, which they found logical. But yeah, it’s inexcusable and dangerous. 

“I’m sure It was just a mistake and an oversight. I’m sure there was nothing intentional by the officiating at all, but certainly can’t allow that to happen.”

In a pool report shared to social media, referee Marc Davis said that he was not aware of what was thrown onto the court until Towns scored. Had the referees been aware that it came from the Nuggets’ bench, a review under the hostile act trigger could’ve been commenced. That penalty brings a technical foul. 

When asked as to why the punishment would be a tech and not an ejection Davis said, “For an ejection, you would have to determine it was thrown directly at somebody versus thrown in frustration.” While it is unlikely that Murray was specifically aiming at any one Minnesota player, the act still could’ve caused a major injury. That reality was avoided, though. 

Murray, who starred in the reigning champions’ first-round win over the Lakers with multiple game-winning shots, has found it much tougher sledding against Minnesota’s outstanding, physical defense. In Game 1, Murray went scoreless in the first half, and his 17 second-half points were not enough in an eventual 106-99 loss. In the first half of Game 2, Murray scored just two points on one-for-10 shooting. He wound up finishing with eight points on 3-of-18 shooting, though he did grab 13 rebounds and had a pair of assists and steals, respectively. 

The Nuggets trailed 61-35 at halftime, the largest home halftime deficit in franchise postseason history. The 35 points also represented the fewest the Nuggets have scored in any half this season, regular season or playoffs. It was a deficit that Denver was unable to overcome, and now it finds itself in a 0-2 hole with a trip to Minnesota on the docket. 

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