LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida, USA (AP) – Anthony Davis has never been in these instances of an NBA postseason and has never had a chance to score a decisive basket.
However, the experience was not new for the Los Angeles Lakers.
When Davis’ 3-pointer hit the rim as the clock expired for the Lakers to beat the Denver Nuggets 105-103 on Sunday night and take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals, coach Frank Vogel recalled a similar feat from another club player.
“Kobe Bryant hit a pitch like that,” Vogel said. “For me, AD coming off the bench, flying to the edge, receiving the ball and hitting it to the basket in the biggest game of our season, and hitting it, it was a mamba-style throw.”
The Lakers played in their black mamba jerseys. They were designed in conjunction with Bryant, his Perimeter Hall of Fame member who died on January 26 in a helicopter crash.
Davis said wearing the jerseys that mean so much to the team increased the sense of relevancy of their throw that gave them the win.
“The jersey we play in tonight makes it even more special,” he said.
Davis finished with 31 points. He scored the last 10 for Los Angeles and finished with 22 in the second half to help the Lakers avoid becoming the latest victim of a Nuggets comeback.
“A special moment for a special player. I’m happy to be a participant, ”said LeBron James, who had 26 points and 11 boards.
Denver trailed by 16 points, but Nikola Jokic scored 11 straight points from Denver down the stretch, including a shot that made it 103-102 with 20 seconds remaining.
Alex Caruso missed a triple and Jamal Murray blocked a shot from Danny Green with 2.1 seconds left. Rajon Rondo found Davis with his entry pass and the star forward shot from behind the arc to put the Lakers halfway to the NBA Finals.