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How the Denver Nuggets survived Game 2 with a win over the Lakers | Locked On Nuggets

Jamal Murray scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to give the Nuggets a 2-0 lead in the conference finals.

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets eked out a five-point win at home over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, taking a commanding lead in the series thanks to Jamal Murray’s 23 fourth-quarter points.

The Lakers came out swinging and made several adjustments designed to steal a win in Denver, but the Nuggets had answers at every turn. 

In a Friday edition of the Locked On Nuggets podcast, hosts Matt Moore and Adam Mares discussed Denver’s uncompromising will to win and how these games set up the rest of the series.

“I feel like they made a compromising decision with how they approached these two games,” Mares said. “They couldn’t go 0-2 given the effort and energy they spent.”

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After putting young forward Rui Hachimura on two-time MVP Nikola Jokic in Game 1, the Lakers pivoted to having the older LeBron James guard him more often in Game 2. That seemingly left James out of gas late in the game.

“Denver is absolutely younger, and their key guys are used to going these heavy minutes,” Moore said. "That’s not a problem for them. LeBron is 38, and Anthony Davis is Anthony Davis.”

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Nuggets were on the ropes and looking tired after a physical game in which the Lakers attacked their best players defensively all night.

“This was a spot where you’re facing a good enough halfcourt defense, with enough length, with enough matchup defenders, and you need a go-to,” Moore said. “You need a bread and butter, and you need a tough shot-maker. And it was two-man game, Jamal Murray, tough shots, bang.”

It was an extraordinary bounce-back moment for a team with aspirations for its first championship.

“Jamal Murray somehow said no, I’ve got to go to that extra reserve, I’ve gotta dig even deeper,” Mares said. “When you talk about all the skills that Denver has and the talent … they don’t quit.”

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