Lakers exit playoffs

WINNER. Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets have ended LeBron James playoff run in just five games. /
WINNER. Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets have ended LeBron James playoff run in just five games. / AP

DENVER — Jamal Murray overcame a strained left calf, management’s suggestion he sit this one out and another haymaker from the Los Angeles Lakers to score 32 points and sink the game-winner with 3.6 seconds left Monday night.

That sent LeBron James to his earliest playoff exit ever and the Denver Nuggets tottering into Round 2 with a 108-106 win in Game 5 that featured 16 lead changes and 10 ties and was only secured when Taurean Prince’s halfcourt heave fell short as time expired.

“Shout-out to the Lakers, they gave us a great series,” said Murray, who also hit franchise’s first playoff buzzer-beater in Game 2.

“Those are shots that you dream of as a little kid,” said Murray, who called this one just “a little better.”

If not for his dogged determination — and defiance — Murray never would have had the chance to seal the series.

“I came in a little earlier today to see if I was going to be able to go, and I felt like I could and they just didn’t want me to risk it,” recounted Murray, who warmed up with an ice pack strapped to his injured calf. “They told me no. They told me no.”

“And I didn’t say no. I didn’t want to leave my teammates out there,” added Murray, who missed 23 games due to injury in 2023-24. “We’ve been battling all season. Everybody’s hurt at some point, everybody’s going through something and I just wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I wasn’t able to play this game. / AP

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