The Los Angeles Lakers gave their absolute best effort in their quest to finally get a win against the Denver Nuggets and had them against the ropes in the third quarter up twenty…but the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic are inevitable. Denver used the last eighteen minutes of the game to completely flip the script and march their way to a Jamal Murray buzzer beating game winner. Anthony Davis had a huge night, LeBron James was his incredible self, D’Angelo Russell actually shot the ball well, and none of it mattered. Denver completes the comeback and puts another incredible chapter in this team’s playoff history.

The defense was much tighter to start game two in comparison to game one. Only Michael Porter Jr. and Russell had points in the first two and a half minutes of the game. Russell was making amends for a poor game one early with three quick threes and the Lakers got an early lead. They kept that lead midway through the quarter with the Nuggets struggling to make shots. Porter accounted for the majority of the Nuggets points as the Lakers lead stretched to ten before Jokic went on a personal 5-0 to force a timeout. He continued to carry Denver’s offense down the stretch and they closed the quarter strong. After the first, L.A. lead 28-24.

The Nuggets opened the second quarter with Jokic on the bench and the Lakers daring anyone other than Murray to score the ball. Christian Braun and Aaron Gordon answered the call and didn’t let the Lakers grow their lead but Russell continued to be hot from outside which kept Denver from overtaking L.A. When Jokic checked back in the Lakers lead was still just four points. AD went to work on offense but the Nuggets continued to keep pace. Jokic fell down going for an offensive rebound and came up grimacing about halfway through the quarter. After that some poor play from Denver (Reggie Jackson was having a rough shift in particular) allowed L.A. to go on a run and get back up by eight. Davis continued to be a force on offense while Jokic looked like his back was bothering him. The Lakers won the close of the quarter as well with the wheels starting to come off Denver a bit with Davis hitting everything. L.A. went to the half leading 59-44.

It was more of the same to start the third quarter with the Lakers getting two and-1s and stretching the lead to twenty. The Nuggets stopped the bleeding after that but they couldn’t keep L.A. from scoring. Murray continued to struggle which left Denver searching for offense elsewhere and unable to close the gap. They eventually got on a run near the halfway point of the quarter and reduced the lead to thirteen. The Lakers suddenly were ice cold from the floor while Denver chipped away. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a monster jam and then drew an offensive foul on Davis which was his fourth. The Nuggets got it back under ten for a moment but the Lakers finally started generating offense again. They couldn’t maintain it though and gave the Nuggets a golden opportunity to climb all the way back in the game. Unfortunately Denver went cold to close the quarter as well and after three it was Lakers 79, Nuggets 69.

The Nuggets energy was extremely high to start the final quarter but they still couldn’t buy a three outside of Jokic and Porter who were both on the bench. That resulted in Michael Malone bringing Joker back early with Denver trailing nine. Denver kept pushing, their defense was top notch and when Peyton Watson finished a breakaway with a layup the Lakers took timeout up just five. Murray finally started to find his rhythm and got back to back buckets to bring the Nuggets within a basket before LeBron sunk back to back threes. Denver refused to go away and pulled back within four with just over four minutes to go. Next, Jokic started going to work on Davis in the post, he got an and-1 to cut the lead to one with two minutes to go. A minute later, a Porter three tied the game and it was headed to a nail biting finish. LeBron missed a wide open three with ten seconds left and the Nuggets elected to not take a timeout. Murray, who had one of the worst shooting performances of his career, slowly walked up the court, drew the switch on Davis and calmly buried a step back game winner in his face. Nuggets pull of an incredible win 101-99.

Best matchup: Nikola Jokic vs Anthony Davis

Apr 22, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) and Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura (28) defend Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the first half during game two during the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis led the Lakers in scoring tonight and during the second quarter was absolutely unstoppable. He hit that mode from mid-range where he might as well have been throwing the ball in the ocean. On the night he tallied thirty-two points on just nineteen shots to go with eleven rebounds. Jokic, in true Jokic fashion, was a master on the court though. He started to fully assert himself in the second half which got Davis in foul trouble and made him be more passive on defense. Joker ends up with yet another triple-double (this one of the 27/20/10 variety) and the Nuggets end up with their tenth win in a row against the Lakers.

No coming back from that

Imagine losing nine straight to a team. Imagine every time you start losing in their arena the crowd starts chanting “who’s your daddy?” Imagine getting up twenty points on that team in the third quarter…and then imagine that team slowly, methodically, working their way through your lead, taking you right down to the buzzer and then winning it at the buzzer to make it ten in a row. I don’t care that the Nuggets still need to win two more games, this thing is over. Only the most disciplined and mentally tough teams could have a chance of coming back from this. The Lakers are not that team.

Jamal misses the thing to bet but who cares

Jamal Murray is an absolute warrior. His game was not a good one tonight and he couldn’t have shot it any worse yet when it came time to step up, he was there all the way to buzzer. Big shoutout to his teammates as well who all calmly cleared out the right side in the final minutes and were perfectly happy having him shoot the final shot. What a win, what a win.