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Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray first ever with 50 points, zero free throw attempts

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CLEVELAND — Denver Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray became the first player in NBA history to score 50 points without attempting a free throw in Friday night’s 120-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Murray didn’t need any freebies to set a new regular-season career high, making 21 of 25 shots while canning 8 of his 10 3-pointers.

His 84 percent mark from the field is second only to Wilt Chamberlain for the highest percentage in a 50-point game in the shot-clock era, according to ESPN’s Stat and Information.

With the Cavs still hanging around in the fourth, Murray made three 3-pointers in 65 seconds to push Denver’s lead to 21. He scored 20 in the final quarter before being replaced with 2:23 left.

Murray celebrated his third straight long-range make — from 33 feet — to open the fourth by pounding his chest and screaming toward fans. He scored Denver’s first 13 in the last quarter, and then passed his previous career-best of 48 points by draining another 3 — with 4 minutes left.

He hit 50 on a thunderous dunk with 2:43 left in the game.

Murray, 23, has struggled through a myriad of minor injuries this season after breaking out as a star in the NBA’s postseason bubble. His two other 50-point games both came in Denver’s first-round series against the Utah Jazz last season.

Friday’s performance made for a perfect birthday present for teammate Nikola Jokic, who turned 26 one day after making his third All-Star team. Jokic had 16 points, 10 assists and 12 rebounds for his seventh triple-double this season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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