The Denver Nuggets, a.k.a the Comeback Kids, almost completed another one in Game 2.
The Los Angeles Lakers stole the win in the final seconds, 105-103, as Anthony Davis swished a three-pointer at the buzzer. Now, Denver is off to a make-or-break Game 3.
Catch the game on Wednesday, September 23, at 9:00 am, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: #3 Denver Nuggets (0-2)
The Nuggets are straight-up fighters. Whatever happens in the playoffs, they’ll be a huge problem for the opposition next season.
Game 2 featured yet another resilient effort as they climbed out of a 16-point deficit and even had the lead with only 2.1 seconds left – it’s their sixth time erasing a double-digit lead this postseason. Lady luck just didn’t smile all the way through this time.
It will be interesting to see how well they can respond to two frustrating defeats, especially Monday’s heartbreaker. We will truly see how tough-minded they are.
Nikola Jokic will continue being the focal point of the offense, both for scoring and facilitating. He’s averaging 25.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in the series, and has been matching up well against the Lakers’ big men. His clutch gene was also in display in Game 2 as he scored 11-straight points to keep Denver alive in the final stretch. Jamal Murray, as always, will be right there with him – 23.0 PPG, 4.5 APG. He’s hoping to bury more threes, though, as he’s only had five in Games 1 and 2.
The two keys for Game 3 is rebounding and free throws. They gave up a whopping 23 offensive rebounds in Game 2 and also missed five FTs in the crucial stages of the fourth quarter.
Denver is scoring 108.5 PPG in the series.
ROAD TEAM: #1 Los Angeles Lakers (2-0)
The Lakers should know they were lucky to win Game 2. They have had a couple of lazy second-half performances in the playoffs as they tend to relax after establishing a double-digit lead, regardless of how much time is left. Anthony Davis really saved them big time through his clutch shots.
Davis scored 37 and 31 in Games 1 and 2, respectively, and he’s in good position to continue the hot run. He’s looking comfortable against a slower Jokic, a smaller Paul Millsap, and a less-skilled Mason Plumlee.
LeBron James had a strong first half on Monday (20 pts on 8/11 shooting), but quickly cooled off in the second half, either because he got contained or he let Davis catch some much-needed rhythm. James had a particularly awful fourth quarter, going 1-for-6 for two points and two turnovers.
The defense and shooting of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, and Alex Caruso will again be an X-factor, but the Lakers should also hope Rajon Rondo’s playoff mode doesn’t get deactivated – Rondo is posting 9.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game in the series in just 21.5 minutes of play.
The Lakers are averaging 115.5 PPG in the series.
The Nuggets have shown their will throughout the postseason, and I think we’ll see it with extra urgency this Wednesday. They are slowly cracking the Lakers code, as evident in the second half of Game 2.
Denver takes Game 3, 115-109, with Jokic and Murray leading an aggressive scoring attack.