Davis has never played in the Western Conference Finals before.
So if you thought that the fact that he’s never been on this stage before would lead him to shy away from the moment, you’d be mistaken.
Davis drained a three-pointer as time expired and the Los Angeles Lakers crushed the comeback hopes of the Denver Nuggets, 105-103, in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday night.
“That was a big time shot by a big time player,” said Lakers’ head coach Frank Vogel.
finished with a game-high 31 points, and scored the Lakers last ten points of
would be excruciatingly hard to find a better one-on-one matchup than the
battle that Davis and Nuggets’ center Nikola Jokic put on down the stretch.
two All-Star big men took turns hitting one big shot after another as they each
put their teams on their back in the game’s waning minutes.
Jokic scored Denver’s final 12 points of the game, including a go-ahead hook shot over Davis that gave the Nuggets a 103-102 lead with 20 seconds remaining. Jokic finished with a team-high 30 points and nine assists in the loss.
Nuggets had an early five-point lead, but the Lakers went on an 18-3 run to go
up double-digits in the first quarter. Denver couldn’t match LeBron James’
energy and aggression as the Lakers pulled away in the second quarter, leading
by as many as 16 points before the break.
James only scored 15 points in the Lakers, 126-114, victory in Game 1, but he dished out 12 assists, finding his shooters all over the court, and deferring to his running mate, Davis on the offensive end.
James made more of an emphasis to set the tone early on the offensive end in Game 2. James scored 20 points in the first half, finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds to help put the Lakers in a commanding position with a 2-0 lead, and the “Never Say Die” Nuggets are back in a familiar place on their heels.
the second straight game, the Lakers were able to get their transition offense
going by making stops on the defensive end. Los Angeles seemingly was able to
get whatever shot they wanted on the offensive end. Those shots fell in the
first half, and struggled to fall in the fourth quarter.
Like they’ve done throughout the NBA Playoffs, Denver erased a double-digit deficit in the second half. Trailing by as many as 16 points, the Nuggets made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter to take the lead a few times before Davis broke their hearts with his buzzer-beater.
“It’s a 48-minute game and leads mean nothing against this team,” said Vogel. “They are incredibly difficult to guard. They are a nightmare to defend out there. Luckily we were able to prevail down the stretch.”
the fourth quarter, every time the Nuggets made a big stop, a big shot, or took
the lead, the Lakers would answer with a big three of their own.
Caruso, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, James and Davis
each hit threes throughout the game. The Lakers were 13-of-36 from beyond the
arc in the victory.
Denver complained about the free throw disparity after they shot nine less free throws than the Lakers in Game 1. The tables were turned in Game 2, as the Nuggets shot 33 free throws compared to just 19 for the Lakers.
James was upset after Game 1 when he only received 16 votes for MVP compared to Giannis Antetokounmpo who won the award in a landslide with 85 first-place votes.
“It pissed me off. That’s my true answer,” James
said about the results. “It
pissed me off, because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first-place votes. That’s
what pissed me off more than anything.”
admitted Antetokounmpo was deserving of the award, but with the reigning MVP
watching the NBA Playoffs from home and the Lakers in the Western Conference
Finals, James wants to change MVP voters’ minds on the court.
Lakers might not have this season’s MVP on their team, but they are currently
playing the best basketball inside the bubble, and are just two wins away from
sending their franchise back to the NBA Finals.
The last time the Lakers were in the Finals was 2010, when Kobe Bryant led the team to their 16th championship in seven games over the Celtics. Bryant’s spirit was felt on the court inside the bubble in Game 2, as the Lakers wore their Kobe Bryant designed “Black Mamba” jerseys in Game 2 in honor of Bryant and his daughter Gianna who wore the No. 2.
“We want to embody what Kobe Bryant stood for and honor his memory,” said Vogel. “There’s certain games we’re going to feel it more than others and when we have these uniforms on we feel it. That’s a shot Kobe Bryant would have hit. That’s a Mamba Shot.”
3 is scheduled for 6:00PM on Tuesday night inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports
Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Source: NBC Los Angeles