The Lakers failed to hold homecourt advantage in the Western Conference finals. They dropped Game 2 to the Denver Nuggets, 106-103, tonight at Staples Center, losing a game they could have won but didn’t. They swapped places with the Nuggets, who could have won Game 1 on Tuesday, but didn’t. The series shifts to Denver for Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday. Game 5 is Wednesday back at Staples.
Not too much difference between the teams in either game. Trevor Ariza had a big steal to help the Lakers win Game 1. Kobe Bryant made six straight free throws in crunch time. In Game 2, they failed to make the big plays. The Nuggets snared a couple of loose balls and Chauncey Billups made three of four free throws in the closing seconds.
Derek Fisher missed a 3-pointer over the outstretched hands of Nene that could have tied the score at 106-all. Fisher’s shot was woefully short, however. Fisher scored only three points on 1-for-9 shooting, which begs the question: why him? Well, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he figured the Nuggets would just foul Bryant if the ball went to him on an inbounds play with 4.3 seconds remaining. So, Luke Walton passed it to Fisher.
“I had a pretty good look at it,” Fisher said after the game. “I figured they were going to try to foul to prevent us from shooting a 3. I think I got rid of it a little quicker than I probably had to. Definitely don’t want to put yourself in a position where you need that kind of shot to try and tie the game.”
Now, it’s off to Denver.