Nuggets’ Jamal Murray Says Teammates Told Him To Keep Shooting In Comeback Win Over Lakers

After trailing by 20 points, the Denver Nuggets made a late-game comeback, rallying behind Jamal Murray, who made a buzzer-beater to give the defending NBA champs a 101-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, securing a 2-0 lead in the series.

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets, NBA
(Jack Dempsey/AP Photo)

Two minutes after coming out of halftime, the Lakers held a 68-48 lead over the Nuggets, however, the home team cut the deficit down to 10 points heading into the fourth. To point out, through three quarters, Murray had only six points and was shooting 3-for-16 from the field. Then in the final 10 minutes, No. 27 became the hero, making 6-of-8 shots down the stretch, including a midrange baseline fadeaway game-winning shot to beat the buzzer.

“I told my teammates when I was struggling, I’m gonna look for y’all,” Murray said postgame. “Every single one of them told me to keep shooting. Be aggressive, keep shooting… I had the ball with a few seconds left. I knew once I made a couple, the next one should go down as well.”

Before the last shot, the Nuggets trailed since the first two minutes of the game.

“I don’t have a 20-point play,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone told NBA reporters. “You’ve got to just keep chipping away.” To note, this is the largest blown lead (20) for the Lakers this season and is now the 10th straight loss for the purple and gold against the Nuggets. 

LeBron James scored 26 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished out eight assists in the loss, while his counterpart Anthony Davis put up 32 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, D’Angelo Russell had 23 points (7-for-11 3P) to give the Lakers’ trio a combined point total of 81 points, while the rest of the team only contributed 18 points. 

Nikola Jokic recorded his 17th career playoff triple-double, as the MVP candidate put up 27 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists. Michael Porter Jr. had 22 points and nine rebounds, while the player of the game, Murray, who struggled most of the night, ended with 20 points including 14 in the fourth quarter.

With 1:30 left in the game, James stole the ball from Murray and went coast-to-coast making a highlight reel dunk to give the Lakers a 95-92 lead. Immediately following, Porter Jr. sunk a three-pointer to tie the game at 95-95.

Then Russell made a driving layup to put the Lakers up two, while Murray made two free throws off a questionable foul call on James to tie the game at 97-all. Following the Lakers and Nuggets going back-and-forth, James drove the length of the floor once more, converting a layup, but Murray answered by pulling up for a step-back jumper to make the score tied at 99-99. James then missed an open 3-pointer at the top of the key with 16 seconds left, and Porter Jr. grabbed the rebound before handing the ball to Murray, who brought it up the court, keeping possession to take the final shot.

The last play of the game is certainly a tough pill to swallow for a Lakers’ team that can’t seem to catch a break against their NBA postseason rivals.

“Jamal Murray hit a tough shot,” coach Darvin Ham told reporters after the disappointing loss. “Fading away baseline to his right, AD outstretched arm, great contest, the kid hit a great shot.”

AD was asked to describe the final play of the game by reporters, in which he gave an in-depth breakdown: “Jamal Murray made a shot.” He then dropped the mic and ended the interview.

“Of course it’s a heartbreaking game, you never want to lose in that fashion,” James said postgame, before complaining about the officiating and also walking out of the press conference. 

After getting swept in last season’s Western Conference Finals, and now being down 2-0 in the first round of the NBA playoffs, it is the first time in LeBron’s 21-year career, that he lost six straight playoff games. 

Following Game 1, Ham said: “Thank God, it’s the best of 7 and it’s not the NCAA tournament. We will be OK. Trust me.”

Then now after Game 2, Ham remained optimistic about how the Lakers could regroup in the next 72 hours: “Yeah it stings, remember this feeling, as we take it back home to LA and we got to give them that same feeling in Game 3.”

The seventh-seeded Lakers will hope to defend their home court and break their losing streak, as they host the second-seeded Nuggets on Thursday, April 25 at 10 pm ET for Game 3.

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