‘Wonderful’ Murray leads Nuggets rally in 108-103 win over Lakers
Jamal Murray scored 23 of his 37 factors in the fourth quarter as a livid finale carried the Denver Nuggets to a 108-103 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday and a 2-0 lead in their NBA Western Convention last collection.
Two-time NBA Most Invaluable Participant Nikola Jokic racked up one other triple-double with 23 factors, 17 rebounds and 12 assists for the Nuggets, nevertheless it was Murray who starred when it mattered most.
He made six of seven photographs, together with 4 of 5 from three-point vary, enjoying all 12 minutes of a last interval in which Jokic and fellow starters Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon went scoreless.
Murray’s exploits have been sufficient for a Nuggets workforce that had stored it shut however could not discover a well past LeBron James and the Lakers via the primary three durations at Denver’s Ball Enviornment.
“The sport would’ve been so much simpler if I made them the primary half,” mentioned Murray, including he was in a position to refocus after lacking some open photographs and was inspired by his teammates to maintain taking pictures.
“Simply come out targeted and knock them down,” he mentioned of his second-half aim. “Do not lose any confidence or something like that. Simply play my recreation and know they will fall if I maintain taking pictures them.”
James and Austin Reaves scored 22 factors apiece for the Lakers and Japanese reserve ahead Rui Hachimura delivered an excellent 21 factors off the bench, however the Lakers could not stem the tide as soon as Murray obtained going.
Two days after the Nuggets used a dominant first quarter to take management on the way in which to a game-one victory, it was all tied up on the finish of 1 interval.
The Lakers pushed their result in as many as 11 in the second quarter earlier than arising empty on 10 straight makes an attempt — a dry spell ended by James’s driving finger-roll layup.
James, who additionally had 9 rebounds and 10 assists, then discovered Hachimura for an alley-oop dunk that put the Lakers up 53-48 at halftime.
Anthony Davis made simply 4 of 15 photographs on the way in which to 18 factors and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who however pushed the lead again to 11 halfway via the third as James got here up with a steal and raced for a dunk.
However once more the Nuggets clawed again, pulling degree at 74-74 on Murray’s pull-up jumper with 2:10 left in the third, just for the Lakers to drag away once more to guide by three, 79-76, going into the ultimate interval.
Murray the person
With 9:21 left to play a Murray three-pointer gave the Nuggets the lead for the primary time for the reason that first quarter — they usually would not fall behind once more.
“I believe he was wonderful,” Jokic mentioned. “When it mattered essentially the most, he made photographs and he received us the sport, principally.”
Denver made seven three-pointers in the fourth quarter — one lower than the Lakers had in all the contest. Not solely did Murray make 4 of them, he had two steals that arrange Bruce Brown and Michael Porter Jr. to hit from past the arc.
“Solely certainly one of them was uncontested,” James mentioned. “Two of Jamal’s threes was proper in the face of me and AD (Davis).
“The three-point line is what killed us in the fourth, however I did not see many (defensive) breakdowns although.”
Murray, who starred because the Nuggets reached the Western Convention finals in 2020 however missed the final two post-seasons after tearing a left knee ligament in April of 2021, mentioned the Nuggets might want to present the identical poise in recreation three in Los Angeles on Saturday.
“The group’s going to be into it. They will run, they will play with lots of tempo, lots of power. We have got to have the ability to deal with that.”
James mentioned the Lakers, who’ve received seven straight at residence beginning with the play-in match, cannot afford to be complacent a couple of return to Crypto.com Enviornment.
“We won’t go into any post-season recreation with consolation,” he mentioned. “You have to be much more on edge whenever you go residence.”
The winner of the collection will play both the Miami Warmth or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.