After complete dominance in Game 1, the Lakers led by 10 at the half. On the surface, this looked great for the Nuggets; however, LeBron James has 20 points and no other Laker was in double figures, and Anthony Davis was struggling. This did not bode well for the Nuggets in the second half. Especially if Davis caught fire with James.
To make matters worse, the Lakers opened the half on a 10-4 run to push lead to 16. Things did not look great for the Nuggets. Then, LeBron James tried to take over. For Game 2, this meant advantage Denver. James turned the ball over 6 times in the half and 2-9 from the field. With the ball in LeBron’s hands to start the offense, things stalled and the Laker offense consisted of isolating James, driving to the basket, and trying to kick to an open teammate. This is where the offense stalled.
With improved defensive effort and better choices on offense, the Nuggets went on a 24-12 run to close out the 3rd Quarter. Nuggets trailed by 4 at the start of the 4th Quarter and momentum clearly on their side. The 4th Quarter saw a continuation of the Laker offense sputtering thanks to better on-ball defense by the Nuggets. With two minutes remaining on the clock, the Nuggets trailed by 4 points and looked poised to steal Game 2.
Nikola Jokic nailed a three pointer with just over one minute remaining to put the Nuggets down, 100-99. A Missed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three point shot gave the Nuggets the ball and a chance for the lead with 30 seconds remaining. Jamal Murray pulled up for a three point shot, only to have KCP block his attempt. As luck would have it, Jokic was right there to tip in the miss to give the Nuggets the lead, 101-100. A 13-foot floater put the Lakers back in the lead with 26.7 remaining.
The Nuggets came out of their timeout and put the ball right into Jokic’s hands. He backed down Anthony Davis to hit a 10-foot jumper. Nuggets lead 102-101.
In using an offensive set that had not worked well in the second half, the Lakers put the ball in James’ hands. His drive collapsed the Nuggets defense and Alex Caruso had a great look for three, only to have the ball hit the front of the rim. Danny Green grabbed the rebound and had his shot blocked by Jamal Murray. The ball went out on the baseline, setting up a final chance for the Lakers.
The Lakers got set for the inbound without a timeout. Davis came across the top of the key, Mason Plumlee, guarding Anthony Davis, got caught in the screen and was looking for Jerami Grant to switch out to Davis. Both stayed behind the screen. Nikola Jokic, who was guarding the inbound, rushed out to Davis to no avail. Davis hit the game winner at the buzzer, sealing the Lakers 2-0 series lead.