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More often than not, players tend to make excuses and blame the referees when the whistle doesn’t go their way and their rival goes to the line often.

That’s what we all thought the Denver Nuggets were going to do after Scott Foster sent the Lakers to the line 24 times in the second quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals thanks to some controversial officiating.

However, Nuggets’ star Jamal Murray isn’t the one to put the blame on the refs. Instead, he claimed that his team needs to play through all adversity and earn the respect of the officials:

“I’m not going to sit here and blame it on the refs. That’s not what I’m doing. We’ve got to play through it and earn their respect. Just try to play through it. It’s tough. They want to talk about every call and have full conversations and try to manipulate what happens, but you can’t worry about it. We know how it’s going to be. We know we’re the younger team,” Murray told ESPN. 

Murray struggled to get things going with Alex Caruso, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Rajon Rondo breathing on his neck the whole time and got into foul trouble early. Even so, he managed to finish with 21 points on 7/12 shooting and 3/5 from beyond the arc.

The Lakers’ physicality was just too much to handle for Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and the Denver Nuggets. They looked worn out from two Game-7 series while LA had 5 days off to prepare for this clash. Now, they’ll face an uphill battle for the remainder of the series but this team has proven to be extremely resilient.