Down by one point with just seconds remaining, and Anthony Davis didn’t flinch. AD lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to a Game 2 victory with a buzzer-beating 3-point shot to defeat the Denver Nuggets 105-103.
The fourth quarter of Game 2 became the Nikola Jokic vs. Anthony Davis show, with the two trading baskets with the same intensity and flair of a classic rivalry. Jokic kept the Nuggets in the game, but AD had the last laugh on the Joker with his game-winning buzzer-beater as time expired.
Jokic finished with 30 points in the loss. AD led all scorers with 31 points and the game-winner.
|#1 LA Lakers (2-0) vs #3 Denver Nuggets (0-2)|
- Tip-off: 6pm PT
- Point Spread: LAL -6.5
- Total: 213.5 o/u
- Moneyline: DEN +225 / LAL -260
The Lakers are the big favorite to win the NBA title at -400 odds, while the Nuggets are +5000 to pull off the comeback. After back-to-back Game 7 situations when the Nuggets rallied from behind 3-1, have they run out of gas? Or do they have the Lakers just where they want them?
The Lakers are two more wins from a berth in the NBA Finals. The Nuggets are four wins away from a spectacular comeback and upset.
AD WINS IT AT THE BUZZER 🚨 pic.twitter.com/pcAe63xESj
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 21, 2020
AD’s Mamba Shot
Denver fell behind, as per usual. They erased a 12-point halftime deficit with excellent play on both ends of the court in the third quarter. Once the game got to the fourth quarter, it became a battle of wills between Jokic and AD. In the final three minutes, the two traded back-and-forth buckets like two prizefighters whaling on one other in the closing seconds of a round.
Denver’s Mason Plumlee had a tough job no matter what happened. He had to defend the lob, or the 3-pointer. Plumlee defaulted to defend the lob and the basket, so AD slipped behind the arc. The rest is history. AD knocked down the 3-point buzzer-beater as time expired.
“Great players make great shots and he did it, so he’s a really good player,” complimented Jokic.
“I wish we were playing at Staples Center,” said LeBron James. “It probably would have blew the roof off. I would have loved to have that moment.”
After he knocked down the game-winner against the Nuggets, AD yelled, “Kobe!”
The Lakers wore black uniforms in memory of the Mamba.
“We never want to lose wearing these uniforms,” said Davis.
“That’s a shot Kobe Bryant would hit,” said head coach Frank Vogel. “To me, AD coming off, just flying to the wing like that, catch-and-shoot with the biggest game on the line of our season, nothing but net, it’s a Mamba shot.”
Denver Too Little Too Late
After an ugly Game 1 defeat, Denver did a much better job with perimeter defense in Game 2. After getting picked off by sharpshooters in the series opener, Denver limited the Lakers to only a 36.1% success rate from 3-point range. Unfortunately, it was the final trey from Davis that ended up hurting them the most.
“We’re a group of guys that hate to lose,” said Denver head coach Michael Malone. “Even though we are disappointed, frustrated, angry, we’ll use that motivation to come out and try to take Game 3.”
Jamal Murray added 25 points, but he struggled from downtown with a 2-for-9 clip.
Jokic and Murray combined for 55 of the team’s 105 points. Michael Porter Jr. added 15 points, but no one else scored in double digits. The Nugs need as much firepower as they can get from someone other than Murray, Jokic, and MPJ.
Malone went deep into his bench to find inspiration. PJ Dozier logged 14 minutes in Game 2, despite only playing in garbage time in the last series against the Clippers.
“We’ve been down before,” said Murray. “We’re just gonna look ahead to the next game and try to right our wrongs. We want to come out stronger than we did last game and put some pressure on them instead of always having pressure on us.”