‘Jokic triple-double, buzzer-beater in Finals’ Denver wins 2nd straight PO—Lakers’ ‘Denver nightmare’ continues

The Los Angeles Lakers players must now be waking up at the sound of Nikola Jokic’s (Denver Nuggets) name. Behind Jokic’s performance and Jermaine Murray’s game-winning buzzer-beater, Denver pulled off a thrilling upset of the Lakers and clinched a spot in the second round of the playoffs.

The Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 101-99 at home in Game 2 of the first round (best-of-seven) of the 2023-2024 National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference Playoffs on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, USA. The second-seeded Nuggets, who have won two straight after taking 토토 Game 1, now need just two more games to advance to the second round.

On the other hand, the Lakers, who came into the play-in tournament as the No. 7 seed after finishing seventh in the regular season, have a much bleaker outlook. The Lakers also met Denver in the Western Conference Finals last season, losing four straight games and falling short of advancing to the championship game. Since last season, the Lakers’ losing streak to Denver has now stretched to 10 games, including the regular season and playoffs.

The Lakers, who dropped Game 1 103-114, were unable to stop Jokic this time around. In 41 minutes of action, Jokic put together an all-around performance, recording a triple-double with 27 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists. He led the team in points, rebounds, and assists.

Jokic took control of the offense in the second half, especially after the Nuggets opened with a 15-point deficit, and led Denver’s comeback with 15 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in the second half alone. He scored seven points in a two-minute span with just over five minutes left in the game to pull within 83-89 and put pressure on the Lakers.

After Jokic’s play brought Denver within 92-93 with just over two minutes to play, the Nuggets committed a turnover that allowed LeBron James (LA Lakers) to score a fast break dunk. But Michael Porter Jr. immediately answered with a three-pointer to tie the game, and after a back-and-forth battle, Murray hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game at 99-99 with 30 seconds left in regulation.

On the Lakers’ next possession, James missed a three-pointer off the rim, giving Denver one last chance, but Murray caught the ball and went one-on-one with the Lakers’ best defender, Anthony Davis, and fired a mid-range jumper off a blocked shot, which clanged off the rim as the buzzer sounded to complete the thrilling Denver comeback. The Lakers were led by Davis with 32 points and 11 rebounds and James with 26 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, the second-seeded New York Knicks narrowly defeated the seventh-seeded Philadelphia 76ers 104-101 for their second straight win. The Knicks were led by Jaylen Brunson (24 points), with Josh Hart (21 points), Dante DiVincenzo (19 points), and others contributing evenly. Philadelphia was led by ace Joel Embiid, who struggled with a 34-point, 10-rebound effort.

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