Nuggets wear down Lakers for 2-0 series edge
Denver is 6-0 at home in the playoffs so far.
Nikola Jokic delivered a triple-double with 23 points and Jamal Murray turned some late 3-point shooting into 37 points as the Denver Nuggets earned a 108-103 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Jokic added 17 rebounds and 12 assists, while Michael Porter Jr. had 16 points for Denver, which used seven fourth-quarter 3-pointers to rally past the Lakers. Murray was 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the fourth, scoring 23 points in the period, after he was 2 of 9 in the first three quarters.
The Nuggets moved two victories away from their first appearance in the NBA Finals, with the best-of-seven series shifting to Los Angeles for Games 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday. They are 6-0 at home in the playoffs so far.
LeBron James amassed 22 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and Anthony Davis added 18 points and 14 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Austin Reaves scored 22 points and Rui Hachimura added 21 for the Lakers, who were much improved after a slow start in Game 1. However, Los Angeles could not hold on to an 11-point lead in the third quarter on Thursday.
The Nuggets used a 10-0 run in the third to tie the game at 74-74.
The Lakers held a 79-76 lead after three quarters before Murray came to life. His first 3-pointer of the period gave Denver an 84-83 lead with 9:21 remaining. He added another with 7:11 left for an 87-83 lead.
After a Bruce Brown 3-pointer with 6:49 to go put Denver up 90-83, Murray again connected from deep twice more and the Nuggets led 99-87 with 4:57 remaining.
Reaves got the Lakers within 101-99 on a trey with 1:07 left after James rolled his left ankle. James stayed in the game, with Reaves making another 3-pointer to get Los Angeles within 106-103 with 13.5 seconds left, but Murray's seven free throws in the final 50 seconds sealed the victory.
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the first quarter of Game 1, the Lakers used an improved sense of urgency to lead by as many as six points in the opening period of Game 2.
Denver pulled even 27-27 at the end of the first quarter, but the Lakers led 53-48 at halftime behind 17 points from Hachimura, who was 7 of 7 from the field in the first two quarters.
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