NBA Mailbag: How do players elevate their game in the playoffs?

In the NBA Mailbag, Jamal Murray answers questions about playoff preparation, toughest players to guard and score on, team chemistry, and more. According to Murray, preparation is key for players to elevate their game, both physically and mentally, in clutch situations. Playing in cities like New York and Los Angeles can be both the hardest and favorite because rising up to the occasion in those spots can boost confidence for playing well anywhere. Murray predicts Warriors-Lakers series to go seven games and expects the Celtics to represent the East in the Finals.

Murray shares his experience playing with Chris Paul and names his starting five with the smartest basketball IQ. Knowing the opposing team inside and out is the major difference between regular season and playoff basketball. Team chemistry is vital for a successful playoff run, and Murray was surprised by Jimmy Butler’s performance putting the Miami Heat on his back. Before a playoff game, Murray listens to music he used to listen to in high school because it gives him freedom and confidence.

Murray advises basketball player development coaches to teach players how to get into their “bag” or skill set while emphasizing team success over individual success. He also admits to watching his own highlights to incorporate moves he used to do in his arsenal and improve his game. Murray concludes by predicting the Orlando Magic’s bright future with pieces like Bol Bol, Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, and Markelle Fultz.

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