Denver Nuggets star point guard Jamal Murray torched the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on May 18. The Kentucky product scored 37 points in 42 minutes while shooting 11-of-24 from the field and 6-of-14 from beyond the arc.
During his postgame media session with Lakers reporters, small forward LeBron James was asked to talk about Murray’s stellar night.
“He made shots. He made shots at the end of the clock when we guarded for 24 seconds,” James said. “He made two big-time shots, one over AD, one over myself. Had some mid-range game going. But he had his 3-point shot going in the fourth. It’s no surprise to anybody. He’s done it before. Hate to be on the other side of it, but I don’t feel like we had many breakdowns when he was doing what he was doing. He made shots and sometimes it’s just a make-or-miss league.
“I feel like defensively we were really good. They shot 43% for the No. 1 offense in the league. And so it just sucks that those five 3s in the fourth definitely killed us.”
Murray put up 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Nuggets win Game 2 by a final score of 108-103. Denver now has a 2-0 lead over Los Angeles in the best-of-seven series.
LeBron James: ‘This Is Not the NCAA Tournament’
James and the Lakers are upset that they are down 2-0 to the Nuggets. However, LeBron knows there’s still time left in the series to turn things around.
“What you take out of it is the fact that this is not the NCAA tournament,” James said. “It’s the first team to four wins. We have an opportunity to go home and play great basketball and hold serve. So until a team beats you four times, then you always have an opportunity to come out of it. So that’s the confidence that we should have. I know it’s going to be a tough hill to climb up, but we still have an opportunity to play good basketball and play the best basketball of the series in Game 3.
“Like I said, if we can get better from Game 2 like we did tonight to Game 3, then we put ourselves in a position to do that.”
James is really struggling with his jump shot versus the Nuggets. The four-time MVP is 0-of-10 from 3-point range through two games. For the Lakers to win Game 3, James has to find his outside stroke.
LeBron James Talks About His Ankle Injury
James sprained his left ankle in Game 2. However, the four-time Finals MVP will play in Game 3, which is on Saturday, May 20.
“I think I stepped on somebody’s foot,” James said. “I think it was maybe Aaron Gordon or one of the guys underneath the basket, but it will be fine.”
James is averaging 23.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists in the 2023 playoffs while shooting 49.4% overall, 23.3% from deep and 76.9% from the free-throw line. The Lakers are undefeated at home this postseason, so they should be favored to win Game 3.