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Nuggets coach Michael Malone explains why he didn't call timeout before Denver's game-winning shot against Lakers

A look at the Nuggets and Avalanche chances in the postseason
A look at the Nuggets and Avalanche chances in the postseason 04:30

Jamal Murray's impressive game-winning shot in Game 2 of the Denver Nuggets playoff series against the Lakers is making headlines across the sports world, and deservedly so. But many things had to fall in line for Murray to have the opportunity to make the basket at all, and one of them was a crucial decision by his coach Michael Malone.

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Two
Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a last second shot against Anthony Davis #3 in the fourth quarter to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers during game two of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Ball Arena on April 22, 2024 in Denver. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

With 2 minutes left at Ball Arena on Monday night the Nuggets were still fiercely battling back from a 20-point second-half deficit. They managed to tie it up at 95-95 when Murray's teammate Michael Porter Jr. connected on a 3-pointer with 1:15 on the clock.

A few frames later, the game was tied once again -- this time at 99-99 -- with 13 seconds left. Los Angeles star LeBron James missed a 3-pointer and Porter grabbed the rebound.

The clock was ticking and Malone had a timeout to use but chose not to do so, and the rest is history. Murray dribbled across half court, faked like he was going to take a 3-pointer, got Lakers star Anthony Davis to close and then beat him to his spot along the right baseline for a clear look. Then he swished a step-back 15-footer at the buzzer. Game over -- Nuggets 101, Lakers 99.

"We got the stop. Tie game. Why let them get set?" Malone explained after the game. "Because, when they can get set and they switch out everything, you might not even get the ball inbounds. So, I wanted to make sure we could just flow into it and let our best players make plays."

The decision by Malone was especially gutsy considering the night Murray had been experiencing. The point guard was stopped his tracks early on when James blocked his dunk attempt, he missed 13 of his first 16 shots, and he didn't get hot until very late in the game.

"That's Jamal Murray right there," Malone said. "He can struggle, he can struggle, he can struggle. He sees one go in and he's never shying away from the moment, the spotlight."

Malone called Murray's clutch shot "just an incredible play." It was the first playoff buzzer-beater by a Nuggets player.

Denver now has a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference series, which shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 Thursday night.

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