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Nuggets eliminate Lakers in Game 5 thriller

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Denver Nuggets survived a back-and-forth final few minutes to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 108-106 in Monday's Game 5 tilt and win their first-round playoff series.

Denver will play the Minnesota Timberwolves in the West semifinals.

Neither team took a double-digit lead in the contest, and both displayed elite shotmaking in the fourth quarter. But it was clutch playoff performer Jamal Murray who came through for Denver with a game-winning jumper in the final seconds.

It was the second time Murray sunk the Lakers with a go-ahead bucket. He's the first player in the play-by-play era to do so multiple times in the same series, according to The Ringer's Zach Kram.

"I'm speechless. It's a dream come true," Murray said after the dramatic ending, "All these fans on your side, and to get it done in this fashion, I don't know what to say."

Murray paced the Nuggets with 32 points, with superstar Nikola Jokic contributing a monster 25-point, 20-rebound double-double with nine assists.

Head coach Michael Malone praised Murray's performance and said he had "the utmost confidence" the guard would make the winning shot.

"That's why I didn't call a timeout," Malone told reporters postgame. "Let the best two-man game in the business play their game and get to their spots. And for Jamal to add to his playoff lore by having two game-winners in a series is just incredible."

"The kid's a warrior, man. I can't say enough good things about Jamal Murray. The bigger the moment, the kid just continues to shine," Malone added.

Meanwhile, the Lakers were led by LeBron James' remarkable near-triple double with 30 points, nine rebounds, and 11 assists. However, Los Angeles couldn't get the job done from beyond the arc, going just 10-of-35 (29%) from deep, compared to Denver's 16-of-38 (42%) clip.

"First of all, you tip your hat to them," LeBron said after the game. "Defending champions, super great team, super well coached, and you tip your hats to them. They made the plays down the stretch to win this series and you give credit where credit is due."

The Lakers were up by three at halftime before surrendering a lead in the third quarter. L.A. had an advantage at the midway point in all five games in the series.

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