Jamal Murray's huge fourth quarter lifts Nuggets to Game 2 win over Lakers

Denver, Colorado - Jamal Murray scored 23 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter in a stellar performance as the Denver Nuggets held on for a 108-103 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray reacts in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena.
Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray reacts in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

Thursday's win saw the Nuggets take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.

Nikola Jokic notched his fourth straight triple-double and seventh of these playoffs with 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists to improve Denver to 8-0 at home this postseason. The Nuggets are two wins away from the franchise's first-ever NBA Finals appearance.

Murray missed 12 of his 17 shots through three quarters but was 6 of 7 in the fourth, including four 3-pointers. He fueled a 15-1 run to put the top-seeded Nuggets ahead for good.

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His fourth-quarter explosion began with a short jumper with 9:59 remaining to forge an 81-81 tie.

He then sank consecutive 3-pointers and hit another after Bruce Brown connected from deep to put Denver up 93-84. Michael Porter Jr.'s three preceded another three from Murray that made it 99-87.

Jamal Murray answers Lakers' attempts to close the gap

Jamal Murray shoots against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James in the fourth quarter during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
Jamal Murray shoots against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James in the fourth quarter during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

The Lakers scored the next five points to close the gap, but Murray answered with another basket. Austin Reaves ended a run of 11-straight missed threes by Los Angeles to close the deficit to 101-99, only to see Murray sink five free throws in the final 25 seconds.

Brown stole the ball from LeBron James with eight seconds left to seal Denver's victory.

Murray's 23-point quarter was one less point than the entire Lakers team.

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James was just shy of a triple-double with 22 points, 10 boards, and nine assists but missed all six of his 3-point attempts.

Austin Reaves added 22 points with five threes, and Rui Hachimura contributed 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting for Los Angeles, which misfired on 22 of 30 from beyond the arc.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Los Angeles, where the Lakers have won eight straight.

Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

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