DENVER — Tempers flared at the conclusion of the Denver Nuggets’ 125-116 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, which led to Lakers coach Luke Walton having to be restrained by referee Ron Garretson as both teams retreated back to their respective huddles for a timeout following two Jamal Murray free-throws.
Garretson pushed Walton back to his bench as the Lakers coach yelled in Murray’s direction.
“I felt like for the second time we played here, Murray was a little disrespectful at the end of the game,” Walton said.
Asked specifically about what Murray did that he deemed disrespectful, Walton said, “some trash talking towards our guys.”
Murray finished with a team-high 22 points on 5-12 shooting and added eight assists. Denver’s point guard also hit 10 of his 11 free-throw attempts in the win. When questioned about the end-of-game incident, Murray was adamant that he didn’t say anything to Walton.
“I didn’t even look at him,” Murray said. “I wasn’t even talking to him.
“I can’t control what the other team’s gonna feel. I’m just gonna go out there and hoop, and whoever takes it to heart and takes their losses salty, I can’t do anything about that.”
Murray’s actions at the end of the two team’s last meeting might have led to Friday’s incident as Walton indicated. On Dec. 2, the Nuggets edged the Lakers 115-110. In the waning moments of regulation, Murray dribbled around Ball with what many deemed a showboat move.
“Ain’t nobody worried about him. We all remembered it,” Ball said when asked if Murray’s antics at the end of their last matchup led to what transpired Friday. “It’s a punk move, but like I said, ‘We’re not going to get into it.’ Just let him do whatever he wants to do.”
“I don’t really worry about Jamal Murray,” Ball added. “… He’s gonna do the circus stuff. I’m not really feeding into it.”
Ball finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The Lakers’ rookie spearheaded a third-quarter comeback as Los Angeles roared back from a seven-point deficit in the third-quarter. L.A. led 96-94 heading into the fourth.
Friday’s matchup — the third of four meetings between the Nuggets and Lakers this season — featured plenty of trash talk and a few hard fouls. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was whistled for what could have been viewed as a hard foul on Murray with 30 seconds remaining.
“It might have,” Murray said when asked if it was a hard foul. “It’s part of it. They were losing, fourth quarter, it was a tight game.”
When asked for comment, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he’ll have to look at the film. If he deems that Murray acted in a disrespectful manner towards the Lakers and Walton, then he’ll speak with his 21-year-old point guard.
“Their bench was very upset with Jamal for whatever reason. I know some of that carried over from last time we played them with Jamal and Lonzo,” Malone said. “…I think it’s okay to play with emotion.”
The Nuggets and Lakers meet again in just four days in Los Angeles.