Attacking Jamal Murray sparks Nuggets, who hold off Lakers for Game 3 win — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Jamal Murray attacked from the opening tip and set the tone for Denver.

Attacking Jamal Murray sparks Nuggets, who hold off Lakers for Game 3 win — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Attacking Jamal Murray sparks Nuggets, who hold off Lakers for Game 3 win

By Kurt HelinSep 23, 2020, 1:05 AM EDT

Down 0-2 to a LeBron James team, the Denver Nuggets backs were against the wall.

The Lakers learned — like the Jazz and Clippers before them — that the Nuggets have a couple more gears when their season is threatened.

Jamal Murray attacked from the opening tip, set the tone for Denver, then when the Lakers made it interesting late, stuck the dagger in the Los Angeles.


— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 23, 2020

“I didn’t have any doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said postgame. “The reason I didn’t have any doubt is we won six straight elimination games…

“For some reason, this team loves the bubble.”

Denver pulled away from the Lakers in the second quarter and held on at the end to take a 114-106 win in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers still lead the series 2-1, with Game 4 Thursday night.

Murray was the best player on the floor in Game 3, scoring 28 points, dishing 12 assists, grabbing eight rebounds, and forcing the Lakers’ defense to adjust to him.

“When you look at these three series we’ve played so far, he’s starting to get the respect from the other teams, and they’re game-planning, they’re blitzing him, they’re double-teaming.”

Both Denver and the Lakers came out attacking the paint early: The teams combined for 56 first-quarter points, and they scored 34 of them in the paint (60.7%)

In the second quarter, however, the Lakers started settling for jumpers while the Nuggets kept attacking. Denver went on a 15-2 run to start the quarter — with Nikola Jokic on the bench — and Denver went on to dominate the next two quarters, leading by as many as 20.

The Nuggets got a big night from Jerami Grant, who had career playoff hight 26 points. Jokic added 22 plus 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Lakers could not get jump shots to fall. Los Angeles was 6-of-26 from three (23.1%), and worse, they scored 12 points on 24 spot-up shot attempts (stat via Synergy Sports).

LeBron James did his part — a triple-double of 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists — and Anthony Davis added 27, but the Lakers defensive energy, and with that transition buckets, were not there.

Until the fourth quarter.

The Lakers got much more physical and aggressive defensively, and the Lakers went on a 19-2 run, which included six straight Nuggets turnovers at one point. The Lakers went to a zone defense that flummoxed Denver.

Eventually, Murray and Jokic righted the ship. Denver stretched the lead back out and got the win. After the game, the Lakers to a man said they needed to bring that fourth-quarter energy all game on Thursday.

One thing talked about after the game was Murray’s elbow to LeBron.

“I don’t think it was blatant. I don’t know his mindset, but I don’t think he did it on purpose,” LeBron said postgame.

The other thing talked about postgame — now we have a series.

Tags: Anthony DavisJamal MurrayJerami GrantLeBron JamesNikola JokicLeave a commen

Alexander: No, the Lakers’ Anthony Davis did not break Denver’s spirit — Press Telegram

Is it fair to say now that Sunday’s frantic finish was not much more than fool’s gold for the Lakers? Anthony Davis’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer to knock off Denver in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals camouflaged some issues with turnovers, fouls, defensive breakdowns and general sloppiness. Frank Vogel hoped those flaws, pointed out in…

Alexander: No, the Lakers’ Anthony Davis did not break Denver’s spirit — Press Telegram


 Boston Herald

Nick Pivetta shows promise in debut as Red Sox beat Orioles

by Stephen Hewitt

The Red Sox may be in the driver’s seat for a Top 5 pick in next year’s draft, but they’re not playing like they’re trying to ensure that.

Christian Vazquez’s three-run homer in the sixth helped seal an 8-3 victory in Nick Pivetta’s debut as the Red Sox moved within two games of the Orioles for fourth place in the division on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Some takeaways and observations as the Red Sox moved to 21-34 with five games to go:

Pivetta on point in debut

Nick Pivetta wasn’t exactly dominant in his first start in a Red Sox uniform, but given how poorly the team’s starting rotation has performed this season, it was a good starting place to work from and good enough to show promise as a cog in the rotation moving forward.

It only took two months and 16 different starting pitchers, but the Red Sox finally have some reason to be encouraged about their starting rotation, with Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez coming on strong, Tanner Houck looking terrific in his first two starts, and now Pivetta. The right-hander they acquired in a trade with the Phillies last month showed a lot to like in his Red Sox debut, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out eight over five innings.

It took a month for Pivetta to finally make his debut because the Red Sox likely were waiting to call him up to take advantage of an extra year of service time, but also because they were working to stretch him out since he hadn’t started a game since last July and had only appeared in three games for the Phillies this season. But he showed little rust in his return.

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said that with Pivetta, a native of Victoria, B.C., who had a career 5.50 ERA coming in, it’s all about location. On Tuesday, he was putting almost everything where he wanted, save for the three walks, two of which came in the first inning as the Orioles took a 1-0 lead. Pivetta took advantage of a chasing Orioles lineup to aid his eight strikeouts, which included 14 swings and misses, the third most by a Red Sox pitcher this season. Seven of those came via his slider.

Chavis has a tough night in left

Two weeks ago, with a need in the outfield and a willing participant, Michael Chavis moved over to left field, where he had never played professionally before. The idea was to get him in the lineup any way possible, and a year after he got a look defensively at second, to expand his versatility.

Chavis had mostly been solid in his first foray into left, but playing left at Fenway Park may take some time getting used to. Two days after a two-homer game, Chavis misplayed a pair of line drives in the sixth inning that ultimately cost the Red Sox a run. The first one off the bat of Pedro Severino and was ruled an error as a catchable ball deflected off his glove, and the second one, a liner from Rio Ruiz, cleared his head for a double.

Bradley Jr. continues late surge

This could be Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last week in a Red Sox uniform, and the impending free agent is making a case for potential suitors this winter. Two days after a four-hit performance in Sunday’s win over the Yankees, Bradley recorded two more hits in Tuesday night’s victory, which included a second-inning single that helped ignite a three-run frame.

Bradley has now hit safely in 27 of his last 32 games, and he’s having a terrific September at the plate, with a .333 average, eight extra-base hits, eight RBI and 13 runs scored in 19 games while raising his season average to .279, which would be a career high even if the season is a much smaller sample size. Either way, Bradley, who has publicly stated that he’s interested in testing free agency, seems intent on closing the season strong.

It’s been rare as of late, but J.D. Martinez also had a strong night at the plate, as he went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. It was just the third three-hit night of the season for Martinez, who raised his average to .216.

Stephen Hewitt | September 22, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Tags: OriolesRed Sox | Categories: Red SoxSports | URL: