The best rivalry in the NBA might be between two teams currently on the outside of the playoff picture.
It all started in early December when Nuggets guard Jamal Murray bristled the Lakers by dribbling around Lonzo Ball as he was running out the clock at the end of a game.
The two teams didn’t play again until this past Friday, a game Denver also won. In the closing seconds, Murray appeared to say something to Lakers coach Luke Walton, who shouted right back at him.
The Lakers got their revenge, though, on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The Lakers fans showed up ready to shower Murray with boos and Murray did his best to silence them.
But the Lakers ended up getting the last laugh, winning the game and denying Denver a chance to move into eighth place in the conference. As the Lakers wrapped up the game in the final minute, the Los Angeles crowd chanted “Murray sucks!”—and there was nothing Murray could do to shut them up this time.
There was also a little scrap between Julius Randle and Nikola Jokic a few seconds later.
The capper, though, was Isaiah Thomas icily tossing the ball to Murray at the end of the game.
Isaiah Thomas told reporters after the game that “this ain’t no rivalry” but it sure is some really good beef. It’s lasted four months over the span of three games and even though these teams won’t face each other again this season, they will play four times next year. With any luck, it’ll also make for a spirited playoff series some time in the near future.