NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy stopped his postgame news conference Wednesday night to say he was dedicating his last two games to the three Virginia football players who were shot and killed earlier this week.
LaVall Davis, Devin Chandler and DeSean Perry were killed Sunday night in Washington, D.C., when a charter bus opened fire on students returning to campus from a field trip.
Murphy, in his second year with the Pelicans, played his junior season at Virginia in 2019-20. Davis was “a good friend of mine,” he said.
“I’m really sad to see him go,” Murphy said. “He was a special person. So please keep their families in your prayers. I appreciate it.”
On Monday morning, after news of the firing broke, Murphy tweeted, “Pray for your friends at UVA. Check on your friends at UVA.”
Murphy’s words on Wednesday came after the best performance of his young NBA career. After scoring 13 points in Tuesday night’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies, he had 19 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double in a 124-110 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Murphy thought he had his double-double locked up in the third quarter when he tapped in a rebound controlled by Larry Nance Jr., but the board gave Nance an official scorer’s change. Murphy came back late in the game and stole a rebound from center Willy Hernangomez to make sure No. 10 was his.
Asked if he apologized for stealing Hernangomez’s rebound, Murphy leaned directly into the podium microphone and said, “Of course not. I’ll steal it again.”
Murphy started his second straight game for the Pelicans on Wednesday after Zion Williamson missed games with a sprained right leg. Was 5-of-6 on 3-pointers, including one from 34 feet.
Murphy tied a career high with three steals and had an interception over Bulls center Nikola Vucevic.
“He’s just getting better and better,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He’s locked in, he’s focused. Defensively he flies around, blocks shots and rebounds the ball. He finds energy on the ball. We know Trey can throw the ball. He can shoot the cover. When guys get in the paint, guys look for him and he’s in the right spots. arriving
The Pelicans improved to 9-6 with the win to stay three games over .500 for the first time since Nov. 19, 2018 — 303 games. Since then, every other team has been at least three games above .500 at some point.