Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals holds a lot of weight to it if you are the Denver Nuggets. After getting absolutely silenced by the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1, the Nuggets have a chance to re-establish respect towards their crew if they were to put up a fight and potentially steal a game in this series. Anthony Davis has been a key talking point even before this series began because of the matchup he has with Nikola Jokic and the rest of the Denver squad. Davis had a game high 37 points along with 10 rebounds in Game 1, so in order for Dnver to have any sort of luck in Game 2, they would need to do everything possible to neutralize the big man.
The game didn’t have the most energetic start as the 8:50 minute mark of the first quarter saw the Lakers with a slim 3-0 lead thanks to an early LeBron James three pointer. Jerami Grant and Jamal Murray registered their own three’s as the Nuggets established a three point lead on the Lakers with just over six minutes to play in the quarter. With the game score at 10-7, Anthony Davis had himself a cold start to the game by going 0-4 from the field. But LeBron was on his own mission. With just under five minutes to go in the quarter, LeBron single handedly brought the Lakers back and tied the game at 12 as he held all of Los Angeles’ points. What followed after LeBron James was subbed out was truly epic for the Lakers as they continued their offensive run (18-3 run) to give the Lakers a 25-15 lead. A bit of back and forth ensued with Jamal Murray’s layup at the buzzer ending the quarter as the Lakers ended with a 29-21 lead going into the second.
LeBron kept on rolling in the second quarter. The King had 8 points in the first half of the quarter before being subbed out with 20 points. The Lakers again were able to string together runs when Denver started creeping into the game. An Alex Caruso transition dunk forced the Nuggets to take a timeout with the Lakers holding a 47-36 lead with just over five and a half minutes remaining in the first half. Alex Caruso continued to impress for the Lakers as he notched 7 second quarter points, however the Lakers lead was brought down to 10 as the halftime score read 60-50.
The third quarter started positively for the Lakers as Anthony Davis fueled a 10-4 run to push the LA lead to 70-54. Anthony Davis was big offensively and defensively as he had a major swat on Jamal Murray’s attempt that led to the big man finding Danny Green wide open for a three. The Nuggets did respond with their own 6-0 run to bring their deficit back down to 10, but the emergence of Anthony Davis in this game would have to be monitored before he gets everything to go in his way. Denver did more than enough to not just settle down Anthony Davis, but settle the entire Laker offense and defense as the Nuggets were able to inch back into the contest for a 82-78 deficit entering the fourth quarter. Jamal Murray led the way for the Nuggets with 19 points in the first three quarters as he began to develop his shooting touch from downtown.
The Nuggets were able to extend their offensive surge and tie the game in two instances during the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. Back to back three pointers from Danny Green and Rajon Rondo were enough to push the lead to 92-87 before PJ Dozier took it to the paint and finished a difficult shot over Anthony Davis plus the foul. Ever since Denver had this push, they were incapable of making the game a one possession contest. A slew of empty trips from both the Nuggets and the Lakers ended at the three minute mark when Anthony Davis nailed a step-back three with the shot clock expiring to push the lead to 100-92. Contrary to the Nuggets Game two’s in their previous series’, their offensive push was not translating to a lead against the Lakers. Nikola Jokic then went on to take over. The Joker went on to score 9 straight points to push Denver over the hump and grab a 101-100 lead with 31.8 seconds remaining in the game. Anthony Davis went on to answer with his own two point shot with 26.7 seconds left in the game to give LA the lead back with a 102-101 scoreline. Nikola Jokic continued to roll offensively as he gave Denver the lead once again with 20.8 seconds left in the game and now placed the pressure on the Lakers shoulders to create something big in their next possession. Alex Caruso missed a three point attempt in the following possession as Los Angeles had just 2.1 seconds left in the game to create a shot for the win.
Anthony Davis was the man that shot a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Lakers a 105-103 win and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers and the Nuggets square off for Game 3 of these Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, September 22nd at 6pm PST.
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