Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.
Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in Game 3 to reduce the Lakers lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.
But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.
The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.
But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.
The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.
With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.
The Lakers meanwhile were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.
James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.
Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Game 4 in the series takes place in Orlando on Thursday.