Jamal Murray's Incredible 4th Quarter And Some Awful Miscues By LeBron Put The Nuggets Up 2-0 On The Lakers

Before Jamal Murray tore his ACL a while back, everyone knew he was a great player. Not sure anyone could've anticipated this level of greatness. After a 3-for-13 shooting start in Thursday's Game 2, Murray went scorched-earth-motherfucker on the Los Angeles Lakers and sparked a 20-5 run to begin the fourth quarter that the visitors never recovered from. 

What a closer Jamal Murray is proving to be on a consistent basis in the postseason. Phenomenal stuff.

If you needed a turning-point play or a microcosm of the evening if you will, here it is. Murray draining a stepback trey right in Anthony Davis' eye:

AD was solid defensively for much of the night, yet he missed 11 of his 15 field goal attempts and did most of his scoring at the foul line. So while I'm not going to put everything in this Lakers loss on LeBron James, there's no question he deserves a lot of the blame.


Not long removed from blowing a wide-open layup, LeBron's attempted reverse dunk on a fast break proved to be critical in a contest that came down to only a couple possessions:

Then, with the chance to convert a steal into two easy points late, one of the best finishers at the rim in the history of basketball blew yet another one from point-blank range and wasn't particularly close:

LeBron is obviously not the guy he once was. It's his 20th season and he's in the midst of a deep playoff run. Thus, the threat he poses to take fools off the dribble and make them look silly isn't as viable…and he tends to fall in love with the 3-pointer. 

Two things can be true at the same time, people. Let's not be moronic mutual exclusivity absolutists here. LeBron can still be a pretty damn great player even at this stage of his career who puts up 22 points, nine boards, 10 assists, four steals and two blocks in a Conference Finals game on the road. AND. And. You can validly criticize him after he LeBricked all six of his 3-point attempts and say, "STOP SHOOTING THREES, MAN!!!!"


"The King" deserves the grief he'll catch — and yeah, the famous LeFlop was in full effect on this play when Nikola Jokic hit him in the face:

Again, two things can be true: Yes, LeBron got fouled. Was clearly hit in the face. AND. And. That was a ridiculous flop.

People don't want to read this drivel. I get it. Y'all just want to slam LeBron without any nuance or context whatsoever. Go off. I won't stop you. Even though I'll defend the guy to the ends of the Earth, he's not beyond reproach. 

If I may invoke LeBron to give Jokic a compliment: It's getting to the point where Joker's "bad" games are feeling like the standard Prime LeBron set…but maybe even more impressive. If you watched Thursday's matchup, you'd think the Lakers did a far better job marking Jokic than they did for the first three quarters of Game 1. That'd be true. Forced the two-time MVP big man into five turnovers and 42.8% shooting. Jokic STILL put up 23 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists and had three steals. Dude is unreal.


Silver lining for the Lakers: LeBron and AD played about as inefficiently as they could have on offense, but thanks to 22 points from Austin Reaves and 21 from Rui Hachimura, they still had a chance to win Game 2. That said, this LA squad desperately needs to return home. They've been excellent there and haven't lost yet in these playoffs. It'll be imperative to hold serve, because if the Lakers go back to Denver with a 3-1 deficit, there's no chance the Nuggets don't close that shit out. Very precarious position to be in with such a slim margin for error.

You can't deny that some of the key plays in this series to date haven't gone LA's way, and much of the blame falls on LeBron. I'm intrigued to see how he responds, because so many times before, haters have left him for dead. I haven't seen him down this bad in a while.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok