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Jamal Murray adds new chapter to rivalry with Lakers

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The precocious guard revels in defeating the Lakers.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a nice history between the Lakers and the Nuggets, a rivalry that started over a generation ago and is continuing on into the 21st century.

Last night, with a 117-85 blowout win over the Lakers, the Nuggets were able to add another victory to their tally. It was a close game at halftime, but the Nuggets pulled away in the third quarter thanks to their efficient offense and their defense keeping the Lakers from knocking down shots behind the 3-point line (the Lakers went 4-21 on 3-point attempts in the second half).

But before their defense clamped down and buried Los Angeles, the bench helped the team get out to a comfortable lead in the second quarter. Following a block on Lance Stephenson, the chaos machine that was responsible for the Lakers win in Los Angeles over the Nuggets, Trey Lyles got the ball downcourt to Jamal Murray. The Nuggets guard pump-faked Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a move so filthy the refs nearly grabbed Murray and started reading him his Miranda rights. Murray capped it off by easily laying the ball in, and waving goodbye to Caldwell-Pope as he turned back to run down the court.

Murray is no stranger to taunting the Lakers. Whether it’s dribbling around Lonzo Ball in the closing seconds of a game, or licking his fingers after cooking Brook Lopez, he clearly delights in the mental aspect of dominating his opponent. He’s drawn the ire of players like Kyrie Irving, who threw the ball into the stands after Murray shamelessly tried to get 50 on the final possession of the Nuggets blowout win over the Celtics.

With his latest troll, Murray has become a true Denver Nugget, finding the utmost joy in handing it to the blue bloods of the NBA. His career is still young, which means the future is full of the promise of more taunts, poster dunks, crossovers and stepbacks to fuel the trash talk from the Nuggets young guard.

With the win, the Nuggets have defeated the Warriors, Celtics, and Lakers, three of the most popular franchises in the league, in Denver this season. While there are plenty of Nuggets fans at these games, oftentimes a large contingent of fans cheer for the opposing team at Pepsi Center. It’s a reality the team knows they’re going to have to deal with, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it. That attitude prompted this marvelous response from Michael Malone, who has clearly influenced Murray as well.

It’s always great to beat the Lakers. Next up, the Portland Trail Blazers. Until then, us Nuggets fans will enjoy the win and the view from up on top of the Northwest Division. From up here, it feels like we’re a mile higher than everyone else.