LEBRON James, Anthony Davis and Los Angeles Lakers finished No. 1 in the Western Conference regular season because they are the hardest to defeat. They proved that again on Monday (PH time) after their 105-103 win over the Denver Nuggets to post a 2-0 lead in the West Finals.
Denver appeared set to deflate the Laker bubble when Nikola Jokic hit a hook shot over Anthony Davis for the Nuggets’ 103-102 lead with 20.8 seconds left.
Jokic made the go-ahead basket look so easy, given that, at 7 feet tall, he was two inches taller than Davis.
But the 6-foot-10 Davis harbored feelings.
Receiving an inbound pass at left quarter court at the 2.1 mark—behind the arc at that—Davis, defying Jokic’s sky-high arms, flung the winning three that hit nothing but net just as time expired.
“I was just right there, but he shot it well,” said Jokic. “Great players make great shots.”
James, who scored 31 points behind Davis’ 37, said of Davis’ feat: “It’s not really about making the winning shot. It’s the belief about making it.”
“It was a great moment,” said Davis.
“Yes, I gave him the play,” said Laker coach Frank Vogel of Davis’ trey. “That was a shot that Kobe Bryant would hit. It’s a Mamba (Bryant) shot.”
Bryant, who died in a plane crash in January, was the star when the Lakers won their last NBA crown in 2010.
James and Davis actually halved honors in the Game Two win that moved the Lakers two games away from reentering the NBA Finals after a 10-year absence.
James took care of first half matters with an instant attack mode at the bell, scoring the Lakers’ first 12 points en route to a 20-point performance as Los Angeles took a 60-50 halftime edge.
The Lakers built their biggest lead at 16 points before the Nuggets woke up behind Jamal Murray and, yes, Jokic. Jokic totaled 30 points again, scoring Denver’s last 10 points.
But Jokic’s strong finish was matched by Davis, who also scored LA’s last 10 points before it all boiled down to Jokic’s sky hook that was blunted so beautifully by Davis’ game-winning three.
Meanwhile in the East Finals, can Miami proceed to make it 3-1 over Boston already? Lap it up, fellas!