Back in December, at the end of a Nuggets home win over the Lakers, Jamal Murray engaged in some extremely rude dribbling, to the great irritation of several Lakers players:
Lonzo was having a bad time back then, as were the Lakers: the loss to the Nuggets was part of a five-game losing streak that would eventually balloon into a dismal, catastrophic stretch in which the Lakers lost 17 of 20 games.
The Lakers visited the Nuggets again Friday night as virtually a new team: they’ve been roaring hot since January 7—a win that broke up a 9-game losing streak—and the roster itself has changed, a result of the Isaiah Thomas deal that sent Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to the Cavs. Would this be the occasion for a little comeuppance for Murray? No. The Nuggets put up 125 points and cruised away from the Lakers via an 18-6 stretch to close the game. Revenge would have to wait for another day.
Murray got the better of Lonzo, going for 22 points on 12 shots, plus eight assists and four steals; Lonzo needed 16 shots to get to 15 points, and shot just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc, breaking up his recent run of hot shooting. And Murray apparently is not done antagonizing the Lakers. After swiping an errant Lonzo pass to all but seal the victory, and again after nailing the clinching free throws, Murray appeared to gloat at either Lonzo, or Lakers head coach Luke Walton, or both, causing Walton to lose his cool:
Jamal Murray, purely as a basketball player, is fun as hell. He appears to enjoy socking it to the Lakers, so much so that his enthusiasm tumbles over into outright gloating. However you might feel about this, I am certainly enjoying a Not Mad Lonzo Ball gritting his teeth through post-game questions about his counterpart:
Murray, for his part, chalked it up to the Lakers being sore losers:
“I can’t control what the other team’s gonna feel,” Murray added. “I’m just gonna go out there and hoop, and whoever takes it to heart and takes their losses salty, I can’t do anything about that.”
The Lakers and Nuggets play again on Tuesday, this time in Los Angeles. The Lakers are a very respectable 16-15 at home this season, and Murray is for sure going to hear it from Lakers fans. May this tasty beef escalate endlessly.