The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t take kindly to Jamal Murray‘s late-game theatrics at the conclusion of the Denver Nuggets’ 115-110 win.
With time winding down in the fourth quarter and Denver comfortably ahead by 13 points, Murray advanced the ball up the floor and dribbled around Lonzo Ball with his left hand. Instead of letting Murray wind down the clock, two Lakers closed in on him.
Tensions rose for a moment but cooler heads prevailed. The two sides went to their respective locker rooms after Murray sunk both free-throws.
“I may have taken it too far. It was a bad play by me,” Murray said from his locker after the win. “The energy was so great and we had such a great game. Like I said, I may have taken it too far but the energy was great and I felt like we could do anything we wanted.”
Murray’s late-game showboat may have been rooted in a pregame discussion with his coach. Two weeks ago, Denver fell to Los Angeles 127-109 as Lonzo Ball tallied his first career triple-double. Nuggets coach Michael Malone didn’t want that to happen again.
Malone “got on” Murray and challenged him to step up his play this time around. Murray answered with a game-high 28 points to go with four rebounds and four assists. Ball finished with nine points, nine rebounds, five assists and five turnovers.
Malone didn’t order the late-game trickery but Murray came into tonight’s matchup against Ball with something to prove.
“Jamal really embraced the opportunity to go against Lonzo Ball and make sure he didn’t have the same impact that he had when he had the triple-double in LA,” Malone said.
Afterward, Lakers fans weren’t too pleased with Murray. The 20-year-old responded on Twitter.
“First time got this much hate lol, we just playin ball,” he wrote.
The move from Murray was surprising and slightly out of character for the usually mild-mannered point guard. Maybe it was a result of a strong shooting night where Murray broke out of a 2-22 slump from three-point range. Murray had missed his last eight three-point attempts before two long-range bombs in the game’s opening few minutes.
“It was a probably bad play by me but they took it personal,” Murray said.
Murray and Ball were seen jawing with each other throughout the entirety of tonight’s Nuggets’ win. Denver doesn’t play Los Angeles again until March 9 so the two sides will have to wait a couple months for a rematch.
“We gotta have some rivalries,” Murray said.