Jamal Murray's buzzer-beater lifts Denver Nuggets to last-second win vs. LA Lakers

Jamal Murray hit a step-back jumper as time expired and the host Denver Nuggets rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 101-99 on Monday night in Game 2 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Murray, who struggled shooting all game, dribbled to the baseline and launched a 16-footer over the outstretched hand of Anthony Davis to give Denver a 2-0 series lead.

"(Nikola Jokic) was kind of looming, waiting for me to make a decision. I faked like I was going to shoot a 3 or a step-back, (Davis) pressed up a little and I got to my spot," Murray said. "I faded a lot and just lost balance and fell. I saw the ball over the rim, someone was in my way, and I just heard everybody screaming. That's how I knew it went in. Pretty cool.

"To miss nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, I don't know how many (shots) in a row, for all of them to tell me to keep shooting, and (they) never wavered in confidence in me hitting a shot. That's what kept me shooting."

Murray was mobbed by teammates in front of the bench as the sold-out crowd celebrated.

"For those that have been following us for a long time, that's Jamal Murray right there," Denver coach Michael Malone said.

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"They protected their home court," Lakers guard Austin Reaves said. "We've got to go do the same."

Murray finished with 20 points on 9-for-24 shooting but came through in the final minutes.

LeBron James had a steal and dunk to put Los Angeles up 95-92 and Michael Porter Jr.'s 3-pointer with 1:15 left tied it before Murray took over. He hit two free throws and a 20-footer to answer buckets by Los Angeles. James then missed a 3-pointer with 16.3 seconds left to set up Murray's heroics.

Jamal Murray reacts after his game-winning buzzer-beater against the Lakers.
Jamal Murray reacts after his game-winning buzzer-beater against the Lakers.

Jokic had 27 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists while Porter scored 22 points for the Nuggets, who have beaten the Lakers in 10 straight meetings, regular season and postseason combined.

Davis had 32 points and 11 rebounds but scored just two points in the final 22 minutes. James had 26 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, and D'Angelo Russell hit six of his seven 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 23 points for Los Angeles.

The Lakers led 89-81 after two clutch 3-pointers from James near the middle of the fourth quarter before Denver rallied. Jokic produced a three-point play as the Nuggets got within 93-92 with 2:12 left.

Davis' 24 first-half points helped the Lakers hold a 59-44 lead at intermission. Davis had two three-point plays and Reaves hit a 3-pointer to open up a 68-48 lead two minutes into the third quarter, but the Lakers went cold after they were up 74-55.

Los Angeles went 5:14 without a point, missing eight straight shots and turning it over three times while the Nuggets chipped away. Jokic's hook shot capped a 10-0 run that made it 74-65 with 2:27 left in the third.

The Lakers led 79-69 heading into the fourth.

Game 3 in the best-of-seven series will be played Thursday in Los Angeles.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Denver Nuggets win Game 2 vs. LA Lakers on Jamal Murray buzzer-beater