DENVER, CO—Jamal Murray’s fourth quarter heroics led the Nuggets with 37 points — 23 of them in the crucial fourth quarter on route to a 108-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, May 18 at Ball Arena. The Denver Nuggets have a 2-0 lead against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
No sugarcoating this loss; it was a devastating outcome on many levels for the Lakers who are attempting to reach the NBA Finals. First, the Purple and Gold squandered an 11 point second half lead because Nuggets guard Jamal Murray had an historic NBA Playoffs moment that will be hard to recover from.
He was excellent! He scored a dazzling 23 points in the final frame including one dagger after another, sinking the Lakers hopes of getting a split in Denver. Murray nailed back to back 30-foot three pointers in consecutive possessions.
Reading the stat sheet it states Denver’s other superstar besides Nikola Jokic had four 3-pointers down the stretch. To the Lakers faithful it felt as if he hit 20 in the gut wrenching defeat.
Jamal Murray ascended into NBA stardom in the Bubble Playoffs of 2020. After suffering a torn ACL in 2021 skeptics wondered if he could return from the injury.
Next, the Lakers duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis faltered at the worst possible time. AD, who scored 40 points in Game 1, managed only 18 points on 4 from 11 from the field. Its been a real Jekyll-and-Hyde Playoffs for Davis, especially scoring wise.
James had a night of offensive lowlights that included his blown, wide-open dunk in the second quarter, a botched layup that came just seconds before, and an 0-of-6 night from 3-point range that now makes him 0-of-10 for the series.
The Lakers’ dynamic duo hasn’t been nearly as dominant as it was three years ago, and it lies on their shoulders to change that trend starting Game 3.
Game 3 is Saturday, May 20, back home in the cozy confines of the Crypto.com Arena. Tipoff is 5:30 p.m., and the game will air on ABC. It is obviously a must win for the Lakers, who remain unbeaten at home this postseason.