DENVER — LeBron James missed all six of his 3-pointers — together with an 0-for-3 mark within the fourth quarter to increase his streak of 19 straight 3s he has did not convert within the fourth this postseason. Anthony Davis clanked 11 of his 15 discipline objective makes an attempt. And the Los Angeles Lakers misplaced Recreation 2 of the Western Convention finals to the Nuggets 108-103 to drop consecutive video games for the primary time since mid-March.
As insurmountable as a 2-0 deficit might sound towards the West’s No. 1 group — particularly with James and Davis struggling on Thursday — the Lakers’ leaders vowed to bounce again with the collection shifting to L.A.
“I feel we improved from Recreation 1 to Recreation 2,” stated James after ending with 22 factors on 9-for-19 taking pictures, 10 assists, 9 rebounds and 4 steals in 40 minutes. “And if we are able to do the identical factor from Recreation 2 to Recreation 3, we put ourselves ready to win.”
After main by as many as 11 factors within the third quarter, the Lakers fell down by 12 halfway by way of the fourth. They mounted a rally — however Davis missed a 3 with 3:15 remaining that would have lower the deficit to 2; he missed one other 3 with 40.5 seconds left that would have lower it to at least one; and James, after stealing a Jamal Murray move, missed a layup with 26.4 seconds left that would have lower it to 2.
“I preferred all of the seems that I bought as we speak,” Davis stated after scoring 18 factors — lower than half of his 40-point output in Recreation 1 — with 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. “Simply a number of them had been quick. I’ll proceed to shoot these pictures and I bought to be higher, extra environment friendly, assist the group win. So, I will be higher.”
The Lakers will host Recreation 3 on Saturday (8:30 ET, ABC) at Crypto.com Enviornment the place they’re 7-0 this postseason between the play-in spherical towards the Minnesota Timberwolves, the primary spherical towards the Memphis Grizzlies and the second spherical towards the Golden State Warriors.
However the hard-charging Nuggets — with Nikola Jokic and Murray each wanting dominant within the first two video games — are a special beast.
Nevertheless, the Lakers — simply the second No. 7 seed ever to make the convention finals — aren’t about to surrender now.
And James, not surprisingly, was backed up by his group. He pushed them to this place as a 38-year-old veteran in his twentieth season and so they’re not going to cease trusting him now, both.
“I imply, he can shoot all he needs,” Austin Reaves stated. “It is LeBron James. I do not assume anyone bats a watch when he shoots a shot or questions his shot. We wish him taking no matter he feels comfy with, simply because he is a successful basketball participant for his complete profession and that is all he needs to do, he needs to win.”
Stated Ham, after James dropped to 0-for-10 from 3-point vary within the convention finals: “He was open, they’re taking part in off of him. He is a extremely succesful 3-point shooter, he let it fly.”
James guarded Jokic for a lot of the evening, feeling the affect of the two-time MVP’s 6-foot-11, 280-pound body. However James did not use fatigue as an excuse for the errant pictures.
“If you happen to’re not drained within the postseason …” he stated, trailing off. “I imply, everyone’s drained.”
Equally, he wasn’t about to let his left ankle that he twisted late within the fourth from forestall him from suiting up in Recreation 3. James stated he stepped on Aaron Gordon‘s foot however replays confirmed it was Davis’ foot.
“A bit ankle [injury] is not going to cease me,” James informed ESPN.
Groups have a 6-56 collection document all time when trailing 2-0 within the convention finals, in line with analysis by ESPN Stats & Info. However two of these comebacks have been orchestrated by James’ groups — with Cleveland in 2007 and once more in 2018.
“We nonetheless bought to play with the identical desperation as we did tonight,” James stated. “We got here out with an L however does not give us any extra consolation. We will not go into any postseason sport with consolation, simply since you both have not misplaced at residence otherwise you’re going again residence.”
This may be the primary time all playoffs the Lakers are behind in a collection, nevertheless it’s not the primary time the Lakers have been down this season, as coach Darvin Ham reminded reporters earlier than Recreation 2 started.
“I have been down 2-10, 0-5,” Ham stated, reflecting on his group’s begin again in October. “You are by no means pretty much as good as they are saying you’re and also you’re by no means as unhealthy as they are saying you’re. You have simply bought to deal with every day like its personal entity. Every day, every sport a possibility to exit and get higher. By no means get too excessive and by no means get too low.”