Jamal Murray apparently loves being a dick to the Lakers. Last December he caused a brief kerfuffle by dribbling rudely around Lonzo Ball in the closing seconds of a Nuggets home win. Three months later he again pissed off the Lakers—and drew a classic Not Mad response from Lonzo—with something he said either to Lonzo or Luke Walton in the final moments of another Nuggets home win. It was evident then that the Lakers very much do not appreciate Murray’s showboating.
The Lakers got a measure of revenge less than a week later, when the Nuggets visited Los Angeles and Murray was serenaded with a “Murray sucks!” chant during a nine-point Lakers win. Isaiah Thomas chucked a ball at him, the teams skirmished after a hard foul, and the animosity between the teams was cemented. It’s a good NBA beef.
Tuesday night the Nuggets beat the crap out of the Lakers, again at home, this time by the score of 117–85. 85 points is the fewest scored by the Lakers this season, and the 32-point final margin made for by far the worst Lakers loss of this new LeBron era. But before things got out of hand, back in the second quarter, after a blocked Lance Stephenson layup, Trey Lyles threw a long outlet pass to Murray, who pump-faked Kentavious Caldwell-Pope into low Earth orbit, then dropped in a layup to push Denver’s lead to nine points. After the bucket, Murray appeared to gesture at Caldwell-Pope:
These two teams won’t meet again until March 6, when the Nuggets will travel to Los Angeles. I for one very much look forward to seeing how this mutual, genuine-seeming animosity escalates from here.