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Jamal Murray, Nuggets punch back in Game 3

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The Lakers tried to mount a comeback after their biggest deficit of the entire NBA playoffs, but it wasn’t enough against Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Three Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

In Game 2, the Denver Nuggets showed that they’re a force to be reckoned with, but the Los Angeles Lakers were still able to escape with the win thanks to a game-winning 3-point shot from Anthony Davis. In Game 3, the Lakers needed more than 2.1 seconds of magic, and they got it in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough for them to get the win this time.

After trailing by as much as 20 points — the most they’ve fallen behind by in any game during the entire NBA playoffs — the Lakers rallied in the fourth quarter and closed the gap to just three points. That was the closest they’d get, though, as the Nuggets outlasted them in the fourth to beat them 114-106. The series is now at 2-1.

Whether it was result of their 2-0 lead in the series, or the energy they exuded to get that lead, the Lakers looked flat-footed for most of Tuesday night’s game, and they suffered for it on both ends of the floor. While they still shot a respectable 51.8% from the field, they were abysmal from behind the 3-point line, making just 6 of their 26 attempts. Anthony Davis shot 0-4 from behind the arc.

The most telling stat of the night wasn’t Davis’ 3-point shooting, though; it was his rebounding. In 41:59, Davis recorded only 2 rebounds. No one on the team outside of LeBron James recorded more than five rebounds.

That’s because the Nuggets were just flat-out more aggressive than the Lakers on both ends of the floor, and why wouldn’t they be? A 3-0 deficit in the series likely would have marked the end of their time in Orlando, even with the knowledge that they came back from 3-1 in their two previous series.

The Lakers, on the other hand, played like they knew that they’d still be up 2-0 in the series if they lost this game with the exception of the swarming, zone defense-fueled run they went on in the fourth quarter. Now, the Nuggets will have the opportunity to tie the series up at two games apiece in Game 4 on Thursday.

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