LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – When opposing teams shoot free throws, Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis ventures to the other end of the court for early positioning on the offensive.
Towards the end of the first quarter of the finals of the Lakers̵
When the Lakers Bank saw that it was Jokic guarding Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard screamed, “Thanksgiving, steak dinner, starters, filet mignon and potatoes, a glass of champagne!”
Porter Jr. missed his second free throw and Rajon Rondo threw the ball in front of Davis, who faced Jokic and maneuvered around the big man to fetch a bucket of paint. McGee shouted, “Told you it was a party out there!”
Davis ate well in this possession, but the biggest meal of his career would be on the track.
The Lakers had the game under control for most of the evening and were 16 ahead of the first half, but the resilient nuggets stayed on track and the game ended in the final 2.1 seconds.
Denver was one. The Lakers’ Alex Caruso missed a wide-open 3-pointer from the tip of the key 6.9 seconds from time and Danny Green parried the offensive rebound but his shot was blocked by Denver’s Jamal Murray. The Lakers had one shot left with 2.1 seconds remaining, but they had no time out. Rondo was the inbounder behind the Lakers basket.
“That’s it [practice] It’s all about the ground we’re on right now, ”LeBron James said after the game, referring to games without timeouts. “It’s the practices; It’s the shootarounds. We’re talking about every possible scenario: three, three, two, two. Do we have a foul to give? Don’t we Do we have a break? Don’t we Are we going to court? half dish; BOB, which is the out of bounds baseline; SOB, outside job outside of the borders? You talk about all of these things. You want to be a championship club, you have to be able to do that on the fly. “
James was stationed near the left side of the free throw line when he was mated by Denver’s Jerami Grant and Davis was to James’ right while Mason Plumlee was defending. The official gave the ball to Rondo. The first option was the quadruple MVP, but he still had to take his step to open. Davis saw an opening and sprinted around James.
For some puzzling reason, Plumlee asked Grant to switch, but Grant didn’t. Plumlee could have easily followed Davis because there was no screen blocking him. So James had Grant and Plumlee with him. Davis then came off the curl for a 3-point look.
“A bit of a misunderstanding just happened,” said Jokic.
“I just saw them play it,” said Davis. “Plumlee was a little bit away from me so I knew I’d probably get a clean look flying around with them, somehow locked in ‘Bron. I was just watching ‘Do’ and we made eye contact. ‘
The bounce pass was made and Davis caught it and straightened. Jokic was guarding the inbounder but quickly ran over to deny the shot. Davis rose with one hand to his face and pulled nothing but a net directly in front of the bank of nuggets.
Game. Or as the Lakers would say, dinner.
“Just a big shot from a great player,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel after the 105-103 win.
Davis yelled, “Kobe!” when he ran to his teammates who stormed him when he accidentally wiped out Talen Horton-Tucker with a flying knee to his chest that knocked the Lakers freshman onto the hardwood. Horton-Tucker had to be assisted by Markieff Morris before returning to his teammates to surround Davis in celebration.
“Oh, I’m fine,” Horton-Tucker told Yahoo Sports. “This knee energized me.”
The Lakers are now 2-0 in the series, with Davis ahead with 31 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. James added 26 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. The team delivered in the clutch while wearing the Kobe Bryant-inspired “Black Mamba” jerseys.
“I mean, obviously wearing the jerseys, [Kobe’s] Hit tons of such shots to win games, whether in the playoffs or the finals. But it was special to me. Special for my teammates, ”said Davis. “I told Bron in LA just before the break against the Brooklyn Nets that it was the same point, a slightly different game, and I missed a shot. I was mad at myself. And he said, “Man, we’ll live or die if you shoot that shot.” I got the same opportunity tonight. Ready to do it. Special moment for me. Special moment for the team. Especially in a situation like trying to get 2-0 up against a special team that are great competitors and fight for the entire 48 minutes. To do something like that, and with the shirt we wore tonight, it’s just more special. “
Jokic finished with 30 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
“I mean they have two really good, really good players,” said Jokic. “You have LeBron who is probably the best player in the league and you have AD who is probably the best goalscorer in the league. I think it’s not easy to find out. You are really talented. We can just make it difficult, they feel uncomfortable. … But they are really talented. You will find solutions. We just have to kind of stay upstairs and just make them uncomfortable. “
It was the biggest shot of Davis’s career. So he was dying to leave New Orleans. He wanted a legitimate chance to make a big impression while playing for a championship-caliber team after spending his first seven seasons on The Big Easy and never getting through the second round of the playoffs.
That night it was all Davis, and he devoured the nuggets on either end of the floor. But there was one downside to his incredible night: he could only imagine what the reaction would have been like if the game had been played in Los Angeles.
“It’s a big dream. To make it even better, I wish it was in Staples tonight with the fans who support us all year, ”said Davis. “But to still be in this moment and hit a shot like this is still a dream. I’ve never met a game winner like this. So it’s a special moment for me to hit like this and be a three. Something I’m going to leave on for the next couple of hours and then try to get ready tomorrow and prepare for game 3. “