Murray sends Nuggets past Lakers for 2-0 lead in NBA
Jamal Murray scored 23 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, propelling the Denver Nuggets to a 108-103 come-from-behind win over the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.
Nikola Jokic had his 13th playoff triple-double with 23 points, 17 rebounds and a dozen assists for the Nuggets, who have never been this close to reaching the NBA Finals in their history.
Game 3 is at Crypto.com Arena, where LeBron James and the Lakers are 8-0 in the playoffs.
Murray missed 12 of his 17 shots through three quarters but found his touch in the fourth, going 6 for 7, including four 3-pointers and fuelling a 15-1 run that gave Denver a 96-84 lead.
"He was special," Jokic said. "He won us the game basically."
Just like in Game 1, the Lakers didn't go down easily.
They pulled to three points on Austin Reaves' jumper before Murray sank two free throws with 12 seconds left and Bruce Brown stole the ball from James, then dribbled out the final 8 seconds.
The Nuggets improved to 41-8 at home, best in the NBA, including 8-0 in the playoffs.
James and Reaves both scored 22 for Los Angeles. Anthony Davis scored 18 after pouring in 40 in the opener and Rui Hachimra scored 21 points off the bench.
"He (Murray) made shots at the end of the clock," James lamented.
"We guard for 24 seconds and he made two big-time shots, one over (Anthony Davis) and one over me.
"He had his 3-point shot going in the fourth. It's no surprise to me, he's done it before.
"Sometimes it's a never-miss league."
For much of the night, it appeared as though the Lakers would wrest home-court advantage from the Nuggets, who are the top seed for the first time in their history.
In all, Denver sank seven 3s in the fourth quarter after hitting seven all night.
"It would have been a lot easier if I had made them in the first half," said Murray, who is still playing through an earache.
The Lakers won the series openers at Memphis and Golden State to reach the conference championship.