Julius Randle accuses Nikola Jokic of trying to “pull my shoulder out of place”

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
Mar 13, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) dunks the ball against the Denver Nuggets in the second half during an NBA basketball game at Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 112-103. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the most random turn of events, the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets have developed a rivalry of sorts this season. Most of it was created by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray whose trash-talking rubbed the Lakers team the wrong way in two straight losses but on Tuesday, things continued to escalate.

Murray was booed by the Staples Center faithful for the entirety of the game but the Lakers found a second villain in the game as Lakers forward Julius Randle and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic battled it out for four quarters.

Things came to a climax in the fourth quarter when Randle pushed off Jokic in the closing minutes of the Lakers’ 112-103 win, sending him to the ground. The two chirped at each other and had to be separated by officials but nothing more came of it.

As it turns out, Randle had a reason for playing rough with the Nuggets star, as he explained to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk after the game (h/t Chris Walder of The Score):

“I just didn’t like (how) he was coming down flailing, flapping his arm and stuff. And that’s fine and that is his game, but when you hook my arm and try to pull my shoulder out of place, I don’t like that.”

Randle definitely has a point. It was fairly easy to see Jokic pulling on Randle’s arm especially as the two ran near each other in transition opportunities. Randle’s speed advantage was an issue for the Nuggets’ big men all game long.

Randle also had some less accusatory words towards Murray:

“I don’t talk to him much. Honestly, I like the kid, to be honest. I just don’t … we are not for the antics that he has had the past few games.

“I like him and he is a Kentucky guy, so I am always going to have that relationship, but this is my team, and I’m not going to let the antics fly.”

At the end of the day, it was the Lakers getting their “revenge,” beating the Nuggets in a crucial game for a team looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Oh, and they were extra petty in the process.

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