Down one, with 2.1 seconds left, AD got his chance to prove he is, in fact, ‘build like that.’ His buzzer-beating three over Nikola Jokić more than did it, as he lifted the Lakers to a 105-103 victory to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
“It’s for sure the biggest shot of my career.”Anthony Davis, Bleacher Report
The 27-year-old’s game-winner was the first by a Laker in a trailing playoff game since Kobe Bryant’s in ’06, and Davis fittingly paid tribute to the Lakers’ legend by yelling ‘Kobe‘ after the shot swished through the net.
“We want to embody what Kobe Bryant stood for and honor his memory. 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.”Frank Vogel
Davis finished the contest with a game-high 31 points on 11-for-23 shooting from the floor. LeBron James had a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds, and both Danny Green and KCP added 11. Alex Caruso had 9, and Rajon Rondo dished out 9 assists, as their bench unit provided a much-needed spark on both ends of the floor.
Nikola Jokić was once again on top of Denver’s scoring column with 30, scoring 11 straight in the fourth and hitting a go-ahead hook shot to put the Nuggets up one with 20 seconds left on the clock. But a miscommunication between Mason Plumlee and Jeremi Grant, in what looked like a switch-it-all defensive scheme, made the Mamba Shot possible, despite a solid contest by Jokić.
“I think I had a really good contest, to be honest. I think I was right there. As soon as he shot the ball, he shot it really well. Like, I kind of felt it going in. Great players make great shots.”Nikola Jokić, ESPN
Jamal Murray added 25, with Michael Porter Jr. being the only other Denver player to score in double digits, as he dropped 15 in 20 minutes of action. The Nuggets, who trailed by as much as 16, failed to complete a comeback, as they were a shot away from tieing a series at one apiece.
Now, the group that made history by overcoming two 3-1 series deficits finds themselves 2-0 down for the first time during their incredible run in the bubble. But as they’ve shown time after time, writing them off is still not an option.
“We need to fight. That’s our only chance. They were up 15, isn’t it, or 16? I don’t know how much they were up. We could just call it a game and quit. I think we just want to give the fight. Maybe it’s going to be 30 points, but fight needs to be there, and effort.”Nikola Jokić, ESPN
Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday, and at this point, it’s a must win for the Nuggets.