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He did it again! Jamal Murray breaks the Lakers’ hearts

In Sports
April 30, 2024

Jamal Murray has done it again.

The Denver Nuggets star, after his wild buzzer-beater in Game 2 of the series, hit another game-winner on Monday night to officially close out their opening-round playoff series over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Murray, with the game tied in the final seconds, expertly hit a jumper over Austin Reaves from just inside the free throw line to seal the 108-106 win over the Lakers. His shot fell with just less than four seconds left, which wasn’t enough time for the Lakers to answer as they had no timeouts.

That officially gave the Nuggets the 4-1 series win over the Lakers, and sent them into the Western Conference semifinals. They’ll take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, who swept the Phoenix Suns in their first-round series.

Murray, who was questionable on Monday night due to a calf strain, hit a buzzer-beater while falling out of bounds in Game 2, which put the Nuggets up 2-0.

“I’m speechless. It’s a dream come true,” Murray said on TNT. “All these fans on your side to get it done in this fashion, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy for us.”

The Lakers, who were swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals last season, have now lost in the opening round of the playoffs twice in the last four seasons.

After the Lakers held a slight lead at the break, thanks to a 12-0 run in the second quarter to bounce back from an early hole, the Lakers nearly lost Davis right out of the break

Davis took a shot to his left shoulder after colliding with Michael Porter Jr. in the opening minutes of the second half. The two hit in the middle of the lane, and Davis immediately fell down to the court hard. He remained down for several minutes, too, clearly in a lot of pain, before he finally got up and walked over to the bench.

The shot itself didn’t look like anything drastic, but it clearly hit Davis in exactly the right spot to leave an impact. He remained in the game after a timeout, but was holding onto his neck and his arm was seen just dangling several times over the next few possessions. He had 16 points and nine rebounds at that point. He finished with 17 points and 15 boards.

Despite the injury, the Lakers pushed their lead to nine points briefly near the midway point of the period after a huge 3-pointer from LeBron James. Davis, meanwhile, was pretty much useless offensively from then on. When he grabbed his 10th rebound of the night, he immediately grabbed for his shoulder in pain.

That nine-point advantage disappeared quickly for the Lakers. The Nuggets then rattled off a 19-5 run to take the lead just a few minutes later, which included a huge 3-pointer from Porter despite taking a big shot that sent him to the court.

Davis went back to the locker room late in the period, but he returned to the court to start the fourth. Though the Lakers took the lead briefly midway through the final period, Murray dropped four quick points and threw down a massive dunk over James and immediately flexed on him under the rim.

The teams went back-and-forth in the final minutes, but Murray hit a huge 3-pointer to put the Nuggets back up by two points with a minute left. James hit a pair of free throws on the other end to tie it at 106-106, setting up Murray’s winner.

James finished just shy of a triple-double for the Lakers. He had 30 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the loss while shooting 11-of-21 from the field. Reaves added 19 points.

Murray led the Nuggets with 32 points and seven assists, and he went 5-of-10 from behind the arc. Porter added 26 points, and Nikola Jokić finished with 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists.

The Nuggets will now take on the Timberwolves in the Western Conference semifinals starting on Saturday in Denver. Minnesota swept the Phoenix Suns in their series on Sunday night in what was their first playoff series in in two decades.

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