Jamal Murray beats Lakers at buzzer, Nuggets take 2-0 series lead

Jamal Murray sank a 15-foot step-back jumper at the buzzer and the Denver Nuggets wiped out a 20-point second-half deficit to stun the Los Angeles Lakers 101-99 Monday night and take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference playoff series.

Murray’s fadeaway, falling-down game-winner provided the Nuggets with their first lead since 5-3 in the opening minutes and gave the reigning NBA champions their 10th consecutive win over the Lakers.

The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 Thursday night.

Murray’s winning shot came after LeBron James misfired from long range with 16 seconds left and the game tied at 99.

Michael Porter Jr. grabbed the rebound with 13 seconds left and the Nuggets didn’t call a timeout.

Instead, Murray took the ball to the right side with Anthony Davis guarding him, stepped back and swished the basket just as the buzzer sounded. Both Murray and Davis fell into the Nuggets’ bench as the sellout crowd’s roar shook Ball Arena.

Murray finished with 20 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and Nikola Jokic posted a triple-double with 27 points, 20 boards and 10 assists. Porter added 22 points and Aaron Gordon 14 for Denver.

Davis led the Lakers with 32 points, James had 26 and D’Angelo Russell added 23 with a career playoff-high seven 3s.

The Lakers led 59-44 at halftime and stretched their advantage to 68-48 two minutes into the second half, and it sure looked like L.A. would beat Denver for the first time in 494 days. They still led by 10 entering the fourth quarter.

“I don’t have a 20-point play,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “You’ve got to just keep chipping away.”

That, they did, finally tying it at 95-all on Porter’s 3-pointer with 1:15 left.

Russell’s biggest basket was his layup that gave L.A. a 97-95 lead with a minute to go. Murray was fouled by James and sank both free throws to tie it again.

James responded with a layup for L.A. with 48 seconds left but Murray matched him again with a step-back jumper at 30 seconds. Then, James missed from long range, Porter corralled the rebound and the Nuggets were on their way to one of the biggest shots in franchise history.

Murray, who started out 3 of 16, went 6-for-8 in the fourth quarter.

Russell sank three 3s in the opening minutes, matching the number of 3-pointers he had in the Lakers’ last five playoff games against Denver. He made just one of his nine 3s in the series opener after going 2-for-15 in the Western Conference finals last summer, which led to his benching in Game 4. He finished 7 of 11.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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