The Lakers Squander Nikola Jokic's Foul Trouble, And The Nuggets ROLL In The 4th Quarter To Pull Within One Win Of The NBA Finals

With it being the seventh anniversary of The Nice Guys' release, I'd like to quote Ryan Gosling's Holland March, one of the funniest characters in the history of cinema.

"FINE. I'm done. Put a fork in me... — don't really put a fork in me."

That's how I feel about gassing up the Los Angeles Lakers from the trade deadline all the way through these Conference Finals. I'm done pretending like everything is fine. They're COOKED. I guess there's a reason the Denver Nuggets were the top seed in the West, eh!?

In fact, that entire Nice Guys scene is a microcosm of what the Nuggets have done to the Lakers this series en route to taking a as-yet-in-the-annals-of-NBA-lore insurmountable 3-0 lead. That is, Russell Crowe's Jack Healy is the "messenger service" who plays a game called "SHUT UP UNLESS YOU'RE ME" and proceeds to beat the living hell out of Gosling all across his residence.

Holland March (the Lakers) keeps trying to get up, then we get the hilarious high-pitched shriek after Healy (daa Nuggets) informs him he'll have a spiral fracture of his radius and then inflicts that punishment upon him.

OK wow I took that analogy way too far, especially for a movie clip that is "age-restricted" and requires you to go to YouTube to view it in full. 

Now then. The actual game. Jamal Murray scored 23 points in Game 2's final quarter, only to pick up where he left off with 17 in the first of Game 3. Denver built another huge early lead (as many as 14), and the Lakers were playing catchup the entire time. 

Adding insult to injury in the loss for LA was the fact that Nikola Jokic was whistled for his fourth foul less than halfway through the third quarter!! Was already having an off night as it was...and for those of you who refuse to let Lakers/ref favoritism conspiracy theories die, plenty of fodder for your cannons here:


Scott Foster, EXTENDER that he is, tried to argue Jokic bumped Anthony Davis' lower body and that was the egregious contact that drew the whistle. Miss me with that bullshit. Pathetic call.

Look…Joker still wound up with a line of 24-6-8. His deuce at the rim capped off a critical 13-0 fourth-quarter run that proved to be Denver's knockout punch, as that surge began with the Lakers up 94-93 with around seven and a half minutes remaining. Murray scored a game-high 37 and just continues to stack impressive postseason performances on top of each other. Now well removed from that torn ACL, any lingering rust is gone. 

I was today years old when I learned the 26-year-old Murray has never been an NBA All-Star. How is that possible? Murray is the best he's ever been at the perfect time.

Wow we're many words into this and no mention of LeBron James until now!! He's not really the story, surprisingly. Even with a few 3-pointers to shake off a dreadful slump from beyond the arc and a solid 23-7-12 line, Year 20 LeBron wasn't anywhere near enough to hang with the Nuggs. Is that an acceptable shortened nickname for Denver? Should be. I kinda like it. I've been informed it's "Nugs". I dig it. One letter off. Nuggs is almost a little swaggier no? I digress…

Jokic's prolonged time on the bench helped AD out, as the Lakers big man went for 28 points and 18 boards. Again…didn't matter. The Nuggets have flat-out had the better marquee duo throughout the series. It ain't even that close.

I could bloviate more about how we should appreciate LeBron and the patchwork Lakers roster for even getting to this point as a seventh seed, but ehh…no thanks. Gotta give it up for the Nuggets. They're up 3-0. Not much else to add.


What's the saying? A GIF is worth a thousand words? Even if the player in said GIF isn't tied to either team at all?

Giphy Images.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok