Last night marked the fourth and final time the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers played each other this season. The season series ended in a 2-2 tie with the Lakers’ 112-103 victory and also marked another chapter in the brewing bad feelings between the two teams.
Four days before last night’s matchup, the teams squared off in Denver. In that game — which the Nuggets won 125-116 — guard Jamal Murray appeared to celebrate his team’s triumph and direct some words at fellow rookie guard Lonzo Ball of the Lakers. That drew the ire of Lakers coach Luke Walton, who called Murray “disrespectful” for his actions in that instance. On Dec. 2, Murray dribbled around Ball as the Nuggets wrapped up a 115-100 win.
Last night, big men Julius Randle of the Lakers and Nikola Jokic had to be separated in the waning moments of the game. With 21 seconds left in the game, the two were locked up together as they headed down court. That’s when Randle appeared to shove Jokic to the floor, which Jokic took exception to.
Randle and Jokic walked toward one another but were quickly separated before anything escalated. Randle and Jokic were assessed technical fouls. The Lakers beat the Nuggets 112-103.
“I just didn’t like [how] he was coming down flailing, flapping his arm and stuff,” Randle said. “And that’s fine and that is his game, but when you hook my arm and try to pull my shoulder out of place, I don’t like that.”
On Tuesday night, Randle fouled Murray with 1:03 remaining, not allowing the Nuggets’ point guard an easy score inside with the Lakers up 108-99 at the time.
“I don’t talk to him much,” Randle said when asked about Murray, a fellow Kentucky product. “Honestly, I like the kid, to be honest. I just don’t … we are not for the antics that he has had the past few games.
“I like him and he is a Kentucky guy, so I am always going to have that relationship, but this is my team, and I’m not going to let the antics fly.”
Murray was booed when starting lineups were introduced and throughout the game as well. Toward the end of the game, Lakers fans repeatedly chanted, “Murray sucks!” as well.
The loss last night was a painful one for Denver as it put them a full game behind the LA Clippers (No. 7 seed), Utah Jazz (No. 8) and San Antonio Spurs (No. 9) in the Western Conference playoff chase. The Nuggets are currently 10th in the West.
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