Jamal Murray shone by scoring 23 off his 37 points in the fourth quarter as Denver Nuggets notched up a come-from-behind victory 108-103 over the Los Angeles on Thursday for an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. With 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists, Nikola Jokic recorded his 13th playoff triple-double for the Nuggets, who have never come this close to making the NBA Finals.
Murray hit his stride after missing 12 of his 17 shots through three quarters, going 6 for 7, including scoring a three-pointer thrice and fueling in 15-1 to propel the Nuggets to a 96-84 lead. However, the Lakers didn't give it up easily, scoring three points via Austin Reaves' jumper before Murray sank free throws twice with 12 seconds left. Nevertheless, Bruce Brown snatched the ball from Murray and dribbled it out in the final eight seconds.
he Nuggets' record at home has increased to 41-8, best in the NBA, including an undefeated playoff record. For Los Angeles, LeBron James and Reaves each scored 22. Rui Hachimra scored 21 points off the bench and Anthony Davis added 18 points after scoring 40 in the game's opening frame. Many thought coach Darvin Ham would start Hachimura to try to block the Nuggets' star center from the start after watching the excellent defence Hachimura provided on Jokic in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' defeat in Game 1. But instead, he returned from the bench again.
Darvin Ham brings out his A-game:
Ham was outstanding on the night, scoring a 3-pointer and pull-up jumper, sparking a 9-0 run run to open the second quarter and put the Lakers in pole position despite sluggish starts from James and Davis. The duo were held to only two points in the opening quarter.
Nuggets seized the initiative with a 10-0 run after James' rally made it to 68-57 midway through the third quarter and went ahead for the first time since the first quarter when Murray's 3 converted it to 84-83. At the 7 minute mark, his step-back 3 made the score 87-83. He hit seven of his eight free throw attempts in the closing minute as another 3 made the score 99-87.
At Crypto.com Arena, where LeBron James and the Lakers are 8-0 in the playoffs, Game 3 will take place on Saturday.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)