Los Angeles, 21 September 2020 (tca/dpa/MIA) – Anthony Davis wanted the ball. He wanted the pressure, he wanted the moment and he wanted to show that he could handle it.
So he looked at Lakers teammate Rajon Rondo, who was inbounding the ball with 2.1 seconds left in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday night.
With Nuggets center Nikola Jokic jumping toward him, Davis launched a three-pointer, sank it and won the game.
Despite a comeback effort by the Nuggets, the Lakers took Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, 105-103, for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Lakers capitalized on turnovers and missed free throws by the Nuggets, and delivered timely scoring to bolster their pesky defense.
It took seven and a half minutes into the game before a player besides James scored for the Lakers. Not long after blocking Paul Millsap at the rim, Danny Green raced to the other end of the court for a transition layup.
Even during that scoring drought from every player besides James, the Nuggets couldn’t capitalize.
An 18-3 Lakers run gave them a 10-point lead in the first quarter. Denver only scored 21 points in the first quarter, after a 38-point first quarter in Game 1.
During the second quarter, the Lakers took a 16-point lead, but Denver trimmed it to 10 points at halftime. James had scored 20 first-half points.
The Nuggets made up some ground in the third quarter, shooting 52 per cent from the field to close to within three points, 78-75, with 2:06 left in the quarter.
With 9:58 left in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets tied the score at 82. It was the first time the Lakers didn’t have a lead since the score was 12-12 in the first quarter.
Denver took an 87-86 lead, that the Lakers immediately answered with a pair of threes to take back a five-point lead.
Each time Denver took a lead, their situation seemed tenuous. The Lakers had too many weapons and their defense was too stifling for the Nuggets to take a comfortable lead.
Off balance and pinned in the corner, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope released the ball as the shot clock expired. His three-pointer gave the Lakers a six-point lead, 95-89.
Denver had one more push left and it came at just the right time. Jokic, who’d missed his first two three-point attempts, tried again with 1:04 left in the game. This time it fell and brought the Nuggets within one. Jokic scored 12 of Denver’s final 15 points, including a hook shot with 20.8 second left that gave the Nuggets a one-point lead,103-102.
Alex Caruso missed a three, then Danny Green missed another after collecting the rebound but Denver could not collect the rebound.
That left 2.1 seconds for Davis to make a play that will be remembered.