With the Los Angeles Lakers’ once 15-point lead whittled down to just one and 16,000 screaming fans sensing a 2-0 series lead for their Suns, LeBron James and Anthony Davis took over Game 2 on Tuesday.
Davis blocked Deandre Ayton’s hook shot with 3:15 remaining, initiating a 55-second sequence in which he and James combined for a 7-0 scoring spurt on their own that lifted L.A. to a 109-102 win.
“Two of the top five players in the NBA,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said afterward. “And we have a formula where those guys really carry the biggest scoring load, especially at crunch time, and an army of defenders and finishers around them, whether it’s finishing at the 3-point line or at the rim.
“And it’s been a good formula so far, and those guys continue to show why they’re great players, by stepping up down the stretch.”
The Lakers and Clippers are moving in opposite directions
James hit the first shot of the flurry, an 18-foot turnaround over Cameron Johnson to put L.A. up by three with 2:55 remaining.
“LeBron had an incredible shot in the corner, fading away,” said Dennis Schroder, who had a strong game himself with 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting.
Devin Booker missed a pull-up jumper on the next possession, leading to a 3 on the wing by Davis, to double L.A.’s lead to six with 2:15 left.
Schroder stole the ball from Cameron Payne the next trip down and the Suns fouled Davis, who hit two free throws with two minutes on the clock to cap the flurry.
In less than a minute, L.A. went from having a one-point edge to a 100-92 advantage.
“You never want to get too comfortable with these guys,” said Davis, who finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks, making up for his subpar Game 1. “They can score the ball very quickly. And we can too.
“Me and Bron were found at the end of the game, which the team is supposed to do. … And we were able to pull this one out.”
Schroder might rank the pair even higher than his coach does.
“Top two players in the league, top five, whatever you want to call it,” he said. “That’s what they do. We trust in that.”
James finished with 23 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals, putting the final punctuation on the win with a 3-pointer with 49.8 seconds left to put L.A. up by nine.
After the ball fell through the net, James gestured to the crowd — silencing a road arena in a postseason game for the first time in a Lakers uniform after last year’s title was won in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida.
“It’s playoff basketball. Obviously emotions. And every possession is so key,” he said. “So to be able to make a big play in a big moment, it means a lot to our ballclub.”
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