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NBA fines Murray $100K US for tossing objects onto court during Nuggets’ loss to T-Wolves

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was fined $100,000 US by the NBA but avoided a suspension for “throwing multiple objects in the direction of a game official during live play,” the league announced Tuesday.

Murray of Kitchener, Ont., tossed a towel and a heat pack onto the court late in the second quarter of Denver’s 108-80 loss to Minnesota that gave the Timberwolves a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series that shifts to Minneapolis this weekend.

The Nuggets were frustrated by the officiating as they fell behind by 28 points shortly before halftime.

The heat pack toss garnered the most attention as TNT replays showed Murray sitting at the end of Denver’s bench and throwing it onto the court. It slid across the floor as players jockeyed in the lane just before Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns made a layup with 4:41 left in the second quarter.

Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope retrieved the heat pack and tossed it aside as the public-address announcer admonished the crowd not to throw any objects onto the court.

Officiating crew chief Marc Davis told a pool reporter after the game that the officials were unaware the object had come from the bench. Otherwise, “we could have reviewed it under the hostile act trigger. The penalty would have been a technical foul.”

“We tried to impress upon [the officials] that there’s probably not many fans in the building that have a heat pack. So, it probably had to come from the bench,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said after the game.

Finch also said Murray’s actions were “inexcusable and dangerous.”

Murray left the arena without speaking to reporters and Nuggets coach Michael Malone demurred when asked about it after the game, saying he wasn’t aware that his point guard had been the culprit.

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The Nuggets were off Tuesday. Their next availability is after Wednesday’s practice.

Several seconds before he threw the heat pack onto the court, Murray was observed tossing a towel in Davis’ direction. The towel landed at Davis’ heels and somebody sitting on the sideline got up and quickly removed the towel. Davis never noticed.

Murray, bothered by a strained left calf and the Timberwolves’ tenacious defense, shot three of 18 in game two, finishing with eight points. That poor performance came on the heels of his scoreless first half in game one, which was the first time he’s done that in either half of 59 career playoff games.

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