2020 Playoffs | West finals: (1) Lakers vs. (3) Nuggets
Horry Scale: Anthony Davis secures Lakers 2-0 lead over Nuggets
Moments from coughing up a nearly game-long lead, Anthony Davis saves the Lakers
Ben Couch, NBA.com
A reminder on The Horry Scale: It breaks down a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety night in November?) and celebration. Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named for the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.
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The Lakers looked like they were running away with Game 2, and then the Nuggets did their comeback thing. And then they took the lead.
Trailing 1-0, a win would even the Western Conference finals, allowing these upstart Nuggets to envision a myth-destroying NBA Finals appearance over one of the league’s most storied franchises. But Jamal Murray’s block left 2.1 seconds on the clock for L.A.
And then, the inbounds. The bucket. The mayhem.
Davis became only the seventh Lakers player to win one at a playoff buzzer. And the first since Metta World Peace during the 2010 Western Conference finals vs. Phoenix.
DIFFICULTY: Not much time to work with, and everyone admitted the play was intended for LeBron. At the inbounds whistle, Davis broke from the right elbow on a curve toward the left wing. Rondo, with LeBron doubled, bounced a pass to meet Davis at the spot. He picked up the ball into his shooting motion and that. was. a. swish. Jokic was flying by on the closeout, but didn’t impact the shot.
GAME SITUATION: The Nuggets ripped off another one of their monster comebacks, this one capped by 11 — yes, 11 — straight points from Nikola Jokic. The last two came on a bullyball hook with 20.8 seconds left, as Jokic just backed Davis all the way to the cup before putting the Nuggets ahead, 103-102. Alex Caruso missed a clean 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left, but Danny Green grabbed the rebound, only for Jamal Murray to swat his shot attempt out of bounds. That set up the decisive inbounds.
CELEBRATION: The bench started flying upcourt, and Davis met them near the halfcourt sideline in a flying shoulder bump. Talen Horton-Tucker was unfortunately on the receiving end, and wiped out completely as everyone else celebrated. Fun times.
“I want those shots. I want the big-time plays.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 21, 2020
GRADE: Denver led for precious little of the second half. Completing the comeback would have driven Denver’s confidence in this series through the roof. Instead, they’re in a 2-0 hole and Anthony Davis has embedded himself in every Lakers fan’s heart. The shot wasn’t complicated, but neither was the result. 5 Horrys.