The Los Angeles Lakers are set for another matchup with the Denver Nuggets and guard Jamal Murray, whose antics seem to be leading to a bit of a rivalry with the team.
In the Lakers’ game against the Nuggets in December, Murray dribbled around Lonzo Ball as the clock ticke down, in a bit of showmanship that angered Julius Randle (who immediately fouled Murray). In Los Angeles’ more recent loss to the Nuggets, Murray had some words for the Lakers’ bench, something he was unapologetic for.
L.A. gets their next chance to get revenge on the court when they take on Denver at home Tuesday night, with both teams coming into the matchup as hot as they’ve been all season. The Lakers have won seven of their last nine games, while the Nuggets have won eight of their last 12.
Nikola Jokic has been the biggest reason for the Nuggets’ success all season and over that 12 game stretch, with the Nuggets a team-high 15.2 points per 100 possessions better when Jokic plays than they are when he sits over that sample size.
Right behind him in net rating over those 12 games has been Murray, who the Nuggets are 11.5 points per 100 possessions better with on the court than on the bench, meaning that at least he’s backing up his prolific trash talk.
The Lakers might be annoyed with all the smack Murray is talking, but so far they haven’t been able to silent him with the scoreboard, losing two of their first three to Denver this year. L.A. isn’t in the playoff hunt, but if they’d like to even up the series for competitiveness reasons, this is their last chance to do so.
Plus, the Lakers need to go 11-5 over their last 15 to get to .500 on the season. Having that type of year would be a huge accomplishment for them after a few years of being one of the worst teams in the NBA.
And with an away game against the Golden State Warriors looming on Wednesday, the Lakers would do well by all measures to try and steal this game from a playoff team if they want to get there.
Don’t expect them to rely on any additional motivation in seeing Murray again, however, as Ball and Walton downplayed that aspect.
Los Angeles Lakers (30-36) Vs. Denver Nuggets (37-30)
7:30 P.M. PST, March 13, 2018
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Kyle Kuzma
PF: Julius Randle
C: Brook Lopez
Key Reserves: Isaiah Thomas, Ivica Zubac, Tyler Ennis
Projected Nuggets Starting Lineup:
PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Gary Harris
SF: Will Barton
PF: Paul Millsap
C: Nikola Jokic