BUZZER: Anthony Davis Nails Buzzer-Beater 3 to Give Lakers 2-0 Lead


Photo by Kim Klement of USA Today

Anthony Davis (3) filled with powerful emotion as he nailed the buzzer-beater 3

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL– Wearing the newly iconic Kobe Bryant jerseys, the Lakers paid their biggest homage to Kobe when Anthony Davis knocked down a clutch buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Lakers a 2-0 series lead. Despite a combined 55 points from Denver’s Jamal Murray & Nikola Jokic, the Los Angeles Lakers ripped the Denver Nuggets heart out in Game 2 winning 105-103. With such a close game, the Lakers can always point to Davis’ late-game heroics anytime they face adversity throughout the rest of the playoffs.

Compared to Game 1, Game 2 was a relatively low-scoring game. Both teams scored below 30 points in the 1st quarter, a surprising trope for teams of this offensive caliber. Despite the low scoring from both teams, LeBron & AD still combined for 18 points in the opening quarter to give the Lakers the early 29-21 edge. Jokic & Murray combined for 13 points as well and their first-quarter performances indicated that the Lakers were in for a close one.

In the 2nd quarter, the Lakers were able to pick up more offensive steam. Scoring 31 in the quarter, the Lakers enjoyed the contributions from LeBron, guard Alex Caruso, and the assists from Rajon Rondo. In addition to their contributions, the Lakers shot 55% from the field in the 2nd quarter. With their efficient shooting, the Lakers were able to carry some momentum on the defensive end and held the Nuggets to 47% shooting, but more impressively 29 points in the 2nd quarter. It was because of that defensive performance that LA went into halftime with a 60-50 lead.

Javale McGee (7) looks for the intense throw down while being contested by Nikola Jokic (15)
(Photo by Kim Klement of USA Today)

However, during the second half, there was a definite change in tone. Both teams were spot-on defensively in the second half. So much so that the Lakers were only able to muster 45 points in the second half while the Nuggets put up 53 points. Regardless, the Nuggets gave the Lakers fits the entire second half. In the 3rd quarter, the Nuggets held all of the Lakers not-named-Anthony-Davis to just 10 combined points. Davis was the only saving grace for the Lakers, as he put up 12 to keep the Laker lead at 82-78 at the end of the quarter.

The 4th quarter was nuts. It was as back-and-forth as an NBA playoff game could be. And both sides of the ball were making monumental plays. Both teams tallied emphatic blocks in the 4th quarter, but it was the 3-point shooting that ultimately decided the game. At first, it looked like Nikola Jokic had the hot hand and would be the hero after he nailed a clutch 3 with just barely a minute left to pull Denver within 1. After two free throw attempts from the Lakers, Jokic wasn’t done. Down by 1, Jokic tipped in a layup on one possession and sank in a hook shot the next to give Denver the 103-102 lead. Then, insanity happened. With 2 seconds left in the ballgame, Anthony Davis pulled up for the shot of his life and knocked down the buzzer-beating 3 to give the Lakers the win! Davis was so extremely hyped to make that shot in Kobe’s jersey that he yelled “KOBE” after making it. The entire Lakers bench ran like kids on the last day of school to join the hyped AD in a well-deserved Game 2 celebration. A truly remarkable moment for this Lakers team.

LeBron (23) & AD (3) embrace each other after an emotional Game 2 win (Photo by Kim Klement of USA Today)

The Nuggets threw the Lakers everything they had in Game 2 and the Lakers still came away with the W. That’s extremely impressive; throughout these playoffs, Denver has handed each team’s defense all they can handle. Murray & Jokic do an excellent job of putting pressure on the opposing team’s defense and subsequently their offense. Even with Jokic & Murray enjoying big days, the clutch shot by Davis is the story here. Throughout his career, Anthony Davis has been labeled as a player who frankly shrinks in the clutch. The collective sports media has all acknowledged that Davis isn’t a great 4th quarter performer. Additionally, the Lakers as a team have struggled shooting the 3 all season long. So when you add up all these factors, doesn’t it make Davis’ shot even more impressive?

The Lakers can take this win to the bank knowing if LeBron or AD needs to make a clutch shot, both have the capabilities of doing so. That bodes well for this series and potentially the NBA Finals for the Lakers. Inadvertently, however, clutch emotional wins as this one can usually wear on a team. Especially when you consider the Lakers get a 1-day break before they’re back out there. That’s very demanding for a team, but if there is a team in this Bubble that can do it, it’s these Los Angeles Lakers. When do the Lakers next suit up? Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals is scheduled for tipoff on September 22nd at 6 pm on TNT.