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Cats in the pros: Jamal Murray nails buzzer beater over Anthony Davis in NBA Playoffs

Jamal Murray’s game-winning jump shot. Image sourced from Instagram @nuggets

Former Kentucky men’s basketball star Jamal Murray made headlines on Monday, nailing a game-winning buzzer beater shot over fellow Wildcat Anthony Davis in the NBA Playoffs.

Murray, a member of the Denver Nuggets, scored 20 points to propel his team to a 101-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, taking a 2-0 series lead in the first round of the Playoffs.

With 47.1 seconds on the clock LeBron James drove into the paint for a layup that gave one of the most stories franchises in NBA history the lead before Murray’s 19-foot step back jumper tied it up at 99 all.

Guard Jamal Murray of the Kentucky Wildcats roars after an and-one play during the game against the LSU Tigers at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday, March 5, 2016. UK defeated LSU 94-77 to finish the season 23-8. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

With James missing his subsequent 3-pointer attempt, Murray was left betting with house money as the worst case scenario seemed to be overtime — which was unpredictable but favored the Nuggets on their home court — and the best case scenario was yet another highlight to his already packed highlight reel.

“We got the stop. Tie game,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. “Why let them get set? I wanted to make sure we could just flow into it and let our best players make plays.”

Taking the ball up the court, Murray found himself at the logo with 5.6 seconds to go on the clock as tension inside Ball Arena was palpable.

Driving in from the right side, the Laker staring him down was none other than Davis, a fellow Wildcat though the two never played together in Lexington.

Davis himself dropped 32 in the effort which, combined with James’ 26, accounted for over half of LA’s total points in the contest.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Murray did what had suited him best and attempted a mid-range step-back jumper, losing his balance backward into the bench upon landing.

“I just lost my balance and fell,” Murray said after the game. “I think A.D. was in my way or somebody was in my way and I just heard everybody scream and that’s how I knew it went in.”

Guard Jamal Murray of the Kentucky Wildcats walks off the floor at halftime during the NCAA Tournament second round game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Kentucky fell to Indiana 73-67. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Whether or not Murray saw the shot go in right as the backboard lit up red and the buzzer sounded or not, both he and Davis were immediately swarmed by his Nugget teammates as the fans inside the arena were sent into a frenzy.

The shot didn’t guarantee the Nuggets’ advancement into the second round, but it did give them a major advantage with a 2-0 series lead heading into the portion of the series in Los Angeles, which seemed in doubt when the Lakers had a 20-point lead in the second half of play.

Despite the struggles in the game, the Nuggets are the clear favorites in the series, finishing the regular season with a 57-25 record, good enough for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. In fact, the No. 7 seeded Lakers weren’t even guaranteed a spot in the first round, being forced to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans in the Play-In games to lock up the seventh seed after finishing  47-35.

Game three between the Nuggets and the Lakers is set to begin at 10 p.m. ET from Arena in Los Angeles. The game will air live on TNT, with the Nuggets being the slight favorites in the contest. Murray and Davis are expected to be back in action in the contest.

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Cole Parke, Sports Editor

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