The Los Angeles Lakers were reeling late in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night. The Phoenix Suns had made a big run, their home crowd was in a frenzy and the defending NBA champions were in danger of going down two games to none in the first round.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis weren’t about to let that happen.
James made a turnaround 18-foot jumper, Davis followed with a 3-pointer and the Lakers held on for a hard-fought 109-102 win over the Suns in Game 2 of the playoff series.
“This was a must win,” Davis said. “We all came out with that mindset and we were able to get the job done.”
It was a big bounce-back game for the Lakers, and especially Davis, who struggled in Game 1 and took personal responsibility for the team’s 99-90 loss on Sunday. His crucial 3-pointer with 2:15 left on Tuesday put Los Angeles up 98-92 and ended a late Suns rally.
Davis made 18 of 21 free throws and added 10 rebounds and seven assists. James added 23 points and nine assists.
“Those are two of the top five players in the NBA,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We have a formula where those guys carry a big load, especially at crunch time.”
James said he wasn’t surprised Davis bounced back quickly. He said the Lakers made it a point to get him involved as much as possible.
“Get him the ball early, often and always,” James said. “It’s that simple.”
Game 3 is on Thursday in Los Angeles and the Lakers suddenly have a lot of momentum.