Murray stars for Nuggets versus Spurs; Raptors and Blazers win - GulfToday

Murray stars for Nuggets versus Spurs; Raptors and Blazers win

Basketball

Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray (right) vies for the ball with San Antonio Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan during their NBA game on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Jamal Murray led a dramatic late fightback as the Denver Nuggets scored a series-levelling 114-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday in their Western Conference playoff duel.

Murray erupted for 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets grabbed a vital win in Denver.

The 22-year-old Canadian, who had looked out of sorts throughout, made eight of nine field goal attempts in the fourth quarter to tie the series at 1-1 ahead of game three in Texas on Thursday.

Nuggets head coach Mike Malone said he had never doubted Murray’s ability to deliver despite scoring only three points in the opening three quarters. Benching Murray for the final period was never an option, Malone added. Murray’s late burst of scoring proved the difference on a night when four other Denver players finished with double figures.

Gary Harris had 23 points, while Nikola Jokic added 21 for Denver, who also saw power forward Paul Millsap add 20. Monte Morris chipped in with 11 points from the bench. San Antonio, who led 59-49 at half-time, saw DeMar DeRozan top the scoring, with 31 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 points but only one other player, Derrick White, managed to crack double digits, adding 17 points.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points and Pascal Siakam delivered a double-double as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 111-82 to level their Eastern Conference series.

The Raptors, who were jolted by a shock defeat in game one on Saturday, came roaring back to dominate the Magic.

After opening up a 51-39 lead at half-time, the Raptors cut loose in a devastating third quarter, outscoring Orlando by 39-27 to take 90-66 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

In the other playoff game on Tuesday, the Portland Trail Blazers took a stranglehold on their series with Oklahoma City Thunder, forging into a 2-0 lead with a one-sided 114-94 win.

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard once again shepherded the Blazers to victory. McCollum finished with 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Lillard added 29 points, four rebounds and six assists.

Agence France-Presse

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