Davis hits 3 at buzzer, Lakers snatch win

AAP
Anthony Davis made this three-pointer to give the LA Lakers the win over the Denver Nuggets.
Camera IconAnthony Davis made this three-pointer to give the LA Lakers the win over the Denver Nuggets.

Anthony Davis has never been this deep in the NBA playoffs, never had the chance to take such an important shot.

It's nothing new for the Los Angeles Lakers, though.

So when Davis' three-pointer swished through the net as time expired to give LA a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night, coach Frank Vogel thought of a Laker who had done it before.

"That's a shot Kobe Bryant would hit," Vogel said.

"To me, AD coming off, just flying to the wing like that, catch-and-shoot with the biggest game on the line of our season, nothing but net, it's a Mamba shot."

The Lakers were wearing their Black Mamba jerseys.

They were co-designed by Bryant, their Hall of Fame guard who died on January 26 in a helicopter crash.

Davis said wearing the jerseys that mean so much to the team made his winner feel even better, as they took a 2-0 series lead in the western conference finals.

"In the jersey we wore tonight, it just makes it even more special," he said.

Davis finished with 31 points. He scored Los Angeles' last 10 points and had 22 in the second half to help the Lakers avoid becoming the latest victim of a Denver comeback.

"Special moment for a special player. Happy to be a part of it," said LeBron James, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds as he carried the Lakers in the first half.

The Nuggets had trailed by as much as 16, but Nikola Jokic scored 11 straight Denver points down the stretch - including tip-in from a partially blocked three-pointer and then a basket that made it 103-102 with 20 seconds to play.

The Lakers' go-ahead three-pointer from Alex Caruso missed and Jamal Murray blocked Danny Green's shot out of bounds with 2.1 seconds to play.

Then in the final play of regulation, Rajon Rondo inbounded under the basket and found Davis curling toward the sideline, and the All-Star made no mistake to put the Lakers halfway to the NBA Finals.

Jokic said there was miscommunication on the final play, when it appeared centre Mason Plumlee let Davis drift free believing there was going to be a switch.

Jokic raced out to attempt a block on Davis, but too late.

"Great players make great shots and he did it, so he's a really good player," Jokic said.

Jokic had 30 points and nine assists, while Murray scored 25 points.

Game three is on Tuesday night.

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