Jamal Murray stuns Lakers with fadeaway buzzer-beater to hand Nuggets Game 2 win

Bennett Durando, The Denver Post on

Published in Basketball

They were solved at last, an impossible puzzle that had somehow eluded the Lakers’ best mental and physical efforts for more than a year, for nine in a row of these increasingly familiar meetings.

Nikola Jokic was overmatched for once in his life, Jamal Murray was a man walking without rhythm, and not even the most wide-open backyard 3-pointers were going in the basket.

Well, maybe the Nuggets are impossible.

Murray drained a step-back jumper over Anthony Davis as time expired to hand the defending champions the most remarkable moment of their last two postseasons, a 101-99 win over the Lakers after trailing by 20 points with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Murray had six points on 3-of-16 shooting after three quarters, even after the Nuggets had sliced the deficit in half. He scored 14 in the final frame, including a game-tying jumper with 29 seconds left, to finish with the more laborious, most strenuous, most ugly 20 points of his career.

All that mattered were the last two.


And now the Nuggets lead their first-round series 2-0 over the Lakers, who have lost 10 consecutive games to Denver dating back to the 2022-23 regular season. LeBron James has played in nine of those 10 games. This is the first time he has ever lost nine consecutive games to any single team in his 21-year career.

The Nuggets slowly whittled a 20-point deficit until it was two in the fourth — only for James to sink back-to-back 3s to stretch the lead back to eight. Until it was tied — only for D’Angelo Russell and James to score go-ahead buckets in the last minute. James missed an open three after Murray’s game-tying shot, setting the stage for the final possession. Michael Malone didn’t call a timeout.

Jokic finished with a 27-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. Michael Porter Jr. added 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting beyond the arc, including a game-tying 3-pointer out of a broken transition play with 1:15 remaining.

Davis played the first half of his life as he guarded Jokic straight-up after barely guarding him in Game 1. But he was quiet in the second half, ending what could have been a magnum opus with 32 points on 14-for-19 shooting. Russell made seven 3s and only one 2-pointer, a floater off the glass for the lead with 1:03 left.

Game 3 is Thursday night at Arena in Los Angeles.

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