Watch: Jamal Murray beats Lakers with buzzer-beater, gives Nuggets 2-0 playoff lead


April 23 (UPI) -- Jamal Murray stepped back, flicked up a shot and fell to the ground as he watched the ball slip down the net at the buzzer, leading the Denver Nuggets over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of their playoff series.

The Nuggets guard, who missed 13 of his first 16 shots, scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter of the 101-99 triumph Monday at Ball Arena in Denver. His buzzer-beating jumper resulted in a 2-0 series lead for the defending champions.

"I told my teammates when I was struggling, 'I'm gonna look for y'all,' and every single one of them told me to keep shooting," Murray told reporters.

The Nuggets trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half before Murray spearheaded their dramatic rally.

"I don't have a 20-point play," Nuggets coach Mike Malone said of the comeback victory. "You've got to just keep chipping away."

The Nuggets took the lead twice through the first two minutes of Game 2. The Lakers then went on a 10-2 first-quarter run and held the lead until their were just 75 seconds remaining in the game.

Murray went on to score the Nuggets' final six points, including his 16-foot fadeaway jumper for the win.

"Twenty-point leads in this league are not safe, especially against a defending champion," Lakers forward LeBron James said. "We've gotta do better with that. But we had our chances."

The Lakers outshot the Nuggets 48.7% to 44.3%. They also outshot the Nuggets 43.3% to 23.5% from 3-point range. The Nuggets held a 45-38 edge in rebounding and 54-38 advantage in points in the paint.

Star star center Nikola Jokic registered 10 points and 10 rebounds through the first 12 minutes of the game, but the Nuggets still trailed 28-24 to start the second quarter.

Lakers center Anthony Davis poured in 14 points over the next 12 minutes to give his team a 59-44 lead at halftime. The Nuggets outscored the Lakers 25-20 in the third to cut into the deficit, but still trailed 79-69 to start the fourth.

Murray, who was 3 of 16 through the first three quarters, then caught fire late, making six of his final eight shots. The Nuggets used a 10-1 run to cut the deficit to 83-81 midway through the fourth quarter.

James answered with two consecutive 3-pointers to snatch back momentum for the Lakers. Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. then capped off an 8-1 run with a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining.

Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell answered with a go-ahead layup. Murray then sank two free throws. James hit another go-ahead layup 10 seconds later, but Murray responded with a jumper to tie the game for the final time with 30 seconds remaining.

James calmly took a go-ahead 3-point attempt on the next possession, but the shot clanked off the back of the rim. Murray proceeded to dribble up the left flank toward half court.

He then used a series of screens to get away from James and drew Davis as a defender on the right side. Murray initially used a hesitation move to get Davis off balance. He then flew toward the rim, before stepping back and releasing his game-winning shot.

Jokic recorded a 27-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist triple-double for the Nuggets. Porter chipped in 22 points and nine rebounds in the victory.

James logged 26 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds for the Lakers. Davis totaled 32 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

The No. 7 Lakers (0-2) will host the No. 2 Nuggets (2-0) in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series at 10 p.m. EDT Thursday in Los Angeles. Game 4 will be Saturday in Los Angeles.

The winner of the series will meet the No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves or No. 6 Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals. The Timberwolves beat the Suns 120-95 in Game 1 of their first-round series Saturday in Minneapolis. Game 2 will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Minneapolis.