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Jamal Murray sinks shot at buzzer to cap 20-point comeback and lead Nuggets past Lakers 101-99

  • AP
  • Apr 23, 2024

DENVER (AP) Jamal Murray didn’t even see the biggest basket of his career. At least not live, he didn’t.

Murray swished a step-back 15-footer over Anthony Davis at the buzzer Monday night, giving the Denver Nuggets a stunning 101-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers and capping a comeback from a 20-point second-half deficit.

Murray tumbled into the Nuggets’ bench along with Davis just as his shot fluttered the net and the roar from the crowd shook Ball Arena.

“I just lost my balance and fell. I think A.D. was in my way or somebody was in my way and I just heard everybody scream and that’s how I knew it went in,” said Murray, who was mobbed by his teammates after his bucket gave the reigning NBA champions their 10th consecutive win over the Lakers.

More importantly, it gave Denver a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference series that shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 Thursday night.

Murray missed 13 of his first 16 shots and was easily the most flustered, frazzled and frustrated of all his teammates when it appeared the Nuggets would lose to the Lakers for the first time in 494 days.

“I told my teammates when I was struggling, ‘I’m gonna look for y’all,’ and every single one of them told me to keep shooting,” recounted Murray, who did just in going 6-for-8 for 14 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 20 points.

“They told me to stay aggressive and keep looking for it, keep hunting and when I had the ball with 2 seconds left, I knew once I had made a couple, the next one should go down, as well.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone chose not to call a timeout after Michael Porter Jr. grabbed the rebound off LeBron James’ missed 3-pointer with 13 seconds left and the game knotted up at 99.

“We got the stop. Tie game. Why let them get set?” Malone reasoned. “Because, when they can get set and they switch out everything, you might not even get the ball inbounds. So, I wanted to make sure we could just flow into it and let our best players make plays.”

Murray faked like he was going to take a 3-pointer, got A.D. to close and then beat him to his spot along the right baseline for the clear look.

“That’s Jamal Murray right there,” Malone said. “He can struggle, he can struggle, he can struggle. He sees one go in and he’s never shying away from the moment, the spotlight. And that was just an incredible play.”

Nikola Jokic said Murray “made the tough shots today and he missed the easy ones. It was that kind of game.”

Asked to go though that final sequence, Davis demurred, saying simply, “Jamal Murray made a shot,” then standing up, dropping the mic – and not figuratively – and walking off from the postgame podium.

Jokic posted a triple-double with 27 points, 20 boards and 10 assists. Porter added 22 points and Aaron Gordon 14 for Denver.

Davis led the Lakers with 32 points, James had 26 and D’Angelo Russell added 23 with a career playoff-high seven 3s, including six in the first half to help the Lakers build a 59-44 lead at the break.

The Lakers stretched their advantage to 68-48 two minutes into the second half and they still led by 10 entering the fourth quarter.

“I don’t have a 20-point play,” Malone said. “You’ve got to just keep chipping away.”

That, they did, finally tying it at 95-all on Porter’s 3-pointer with 1:15 left before the frenzied final minute.

“A 20-point lead in this league, it’s not safe, especially against the defending champion,” James said. “We’ve got to do better. But we had our chances.”

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1234Taway team logo 8 Lakers 0-22831202099home team logo 2 Nuggets 2-024202532101

Game 2

DEN leads 2-0

Ball Arena Denver, CO

TOP SCORERS
A. Davis C32PTS11REB2AST
N. Jokic C27PTS20REB10AST
team logo

Lakers

STARTERSPTSREBASTPFMIN
A. Davis32112539
L. James26812338
D. Russell2336138
A. Reaves962232
R. Hachimura350237
BENCHPTSREBASTPFMIN
T. Prince630221
S. Dinwiddie001210
G. Vincent011115
J. Hayes01026
C. Wood
S. Mays
M. Christie
M. Lewis
H. Giles III
J. Vanderbilt
J. Hood-Schifino
C. Castleton
C. Reddish
Total99382420236
team logo

Nuggets

STARTERSPTSREBASTPFMIN
N. Jokic272010241
M. Porter Jr.2291038
J. Murray2035439
A. Gordon1473339
K. Caldwell-Pope613435
BENCHPTSREBASTPFMIN
C. Braun1020212
P. Watson212011
J. Holiday021113
R. Jackson00118
D. Jordan
B. Key
J. Huff
V. Cancar
C. Gillespie
J. Pickett
H. Tyson
Z. Nnaji
J. Strawther
Total101452617236