Home / Sport / Lakers vs Nuggets score, take away: Murray saves the day, Davis plays passive as Denver leads the series 2-1

Lakers vs Nuggets score, take away: Murray saves the day, Davis plays passive as Denver leads the series 2-1

We officially have a series ourselves. The Denver Nuggets took an impressive 114-106 Game 3 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, cutting the 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals. Jamal Murray was absolutely brilliant all night, nearly scoring a triple double and hitting important hits in the fourth quarter when the Lakers made a late comeback offer.

The Lakers were beaten for most of the night but cut the lead to five early in the third quarter. Denver retired later, however, extending the lead to a whopping 18 points in the third before the Lakers launched a final comeback in the fourth quarter.

It was then that Murray came to the rescue, sealing the match for Denver. He finished with 28 points, 1

2 assists and eight rebounds on the night. Nikola Jokic (22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists) played another strong game for the Nuggets, with Jerami Grant showing up with a huge offensive performance, scoring a record 26 points in the playoffs. LeBron James (30 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) and Anthony Davis (27 points) once again led the way for the Lakers, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope adding 12 points in the defeat.

Denver will look to ride the momentum and even the series in Game 4 on Thursday. Here are four highlights from the Nuggets’ big win in Game 3.

1. Murray saves the day … again

There isn’t much more you can say about Jamal Murray. He dominated offensively Game 3 all night, being patient and orchestrating the attack, but even more impressive was the way he responded when the Lakers made their fourth quarter. The Nuggets were going absolutely nowhere in attack, a little confused by a rare zone defense from Los Angeles, when Murray hit a 3-point clutch to increase the lead to seven points with just over two minutes left. . He followed that up with a late night assist to Paul Millsap for a dunk, then hit an absolute dagger to seal the win with 53 seconds left.

It’s one thing to play loose and free when your team is ahead, but what Murray did was special, not that we’ve never seen it before. We all knew the Lakers were going to run, and so many times in these playoffs alone have we seen teams drop out after giving up big leads. Murray simply wouldn’t have allowed that to happen and saved the Nuggets season in the process. If he loses, he loses 3-0 and practically has no chance. Instead, they are down 2-1 with all the momentum towards Game 4. It’s hard to think of a player who has improved his actions more than Jamal Murray in these playoffs.

2. An emotional hangover for AD?

If you didn’t see Game 3, you’d look at the score in the box, you’d see Anthony Davis’ 27 points, and you’d think he had a great game. It’s a testament to how good it is to be able to put up such numbers in the Western Conference Finals, but still underperform. Davis, a midrange master for most of the postseason, didn’t hit his assortment of pull-ups and step-backs on Tuesday, but instead of trying to get more to the basket, he seemed largely passive. He didn’t even get a single rebound until the fourth quarter and couldn’t pick up a blocked shot, a pretty good indication that he wasn’t quite there with his energy level. Check out his Game 3 hit chart below.

Anthony Davis Game 3 shot chart

Davis was coming out of the most important moment of his NBA career on Sunday, so it’s fair to wonder if he was suffering from a slight emotional hangover in terms of intensity. It also has a lot to do with the Denver defense, who did a better job of keeping the Lakers out of trouble most of the night. Despite his poor performance, Davis still put up the numbers, which is what great players do. Expect it to come out more aggressively in Game 4.

3. Grant increases

With Murray and Jokic playing so consistently, all the Nuggets really need is one more player to contribute significantly on a given night. Tuesday was Grant, who was absolutely outstanding on both ends of the floor. The 6-8 winger still carries energy on defense, but had fought offensively after the opening round of the Utah series, averaging 8.8 points on 36% of field goals and 26% on 3 points against Clippers and Lakers.

He came out of that slump impressively in Game 3, scoring most of his 26 career playoff points by going to the basket and making it to the free-throw line instead of just scoring 3 points. He went 2 of 5 from deep, but took 12 free throws in Game 3, hitting 10, having only shot 18 in the previous nine combined games. Watch as Grant quickly attacks closure and looks for lane contact. We hadn’t seen it much recently from him.

Grant won’t score more than 20 points every night, but he’ll benefit the Nuggets enormously if he keeps this level of aggression high as he progresses in the series.

4. Lakers cool down

Concern about the Lakers’ 3-point shot had largely been eliminated in the post-season so far – they’ve shot 39 percent off the 3-point line in their first two games against the Nuggets – but on Tuesday we saw what happens when the shots don’t go down. The Lakers went 6 of 26 from deep in Game 3, including 2 of 18 from LeBron, Davis, Danny Green, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso combined. The Nuggets, like any team, are focusing so much attention on James and Davis that RPGs will always look clean, but none of them are true ground shooter (though Caldwell-Pope certainly looked like him). The Lakers had to have a cold night of shooting and the Nuggets took advantage. We will see how things change in game 4.

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