The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of their Western Conference Finals showdown on Sunday night.
It was a hard-fought victory for LA, with Denver hanging in it until the very end. Ultimately, a buzzer-beating jumper by Anthony Davis sealed the 105-103 win for his squad.
After Davis hit his game-winner, Lakers personnel was understandably overjoyed. They rushed their big man to celebrate, excited by the prospect of being within two victories of the NBA Finals.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, in the midst of all the hoopla, Dwight Howard decided to take things one step further.
“‘Go home!’ he yelled over and over while laughing, jumping, pumping his fist and getting closer to the Nuggets’ side of the floor with every second,” Amick reported.
“‘Go home!’ A small group of Nuggets staffers, including one of [Nikola] Jokic’s biggest supporters in assistant strength and conditioning coach Felipe Eichenberger, did not take kindly to the mocking that had taken place all game long and returned to the court to shout back. The two sides exchanged words, and eventually retreated to their corners that came with conflicting emotions.”
Dwight Howard yelled “Go home! Go home!” at the Nuggets bench after Anthony Davis’ buzzer-beater.
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) September 21, 2020
Interestingly enough, this wasn’t an isolated incident from Howard. He also taunted the Nuggets during the game when he saw that Jokic was attempting to guard Davis at one point.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, as soon as Howard and JaVale McGee noticed who Davis had on him, they immediately began yelling.
“Once the Lakers’ bench saw it was Jokic tasked with guarding Davis, it brought the noise with JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard screaming, ‘Thanksgiving, steak dinner, appetizers, filet mignon and potatoes, a glass of champagne,’” Haynes wrote.
When Nikola Jokic was guarding Anthony Davis in the first quarter, Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee yelled: “Thanksgiving, steak dinner, appetizers, filet mignon and potatoes, a glass of champagne!”
AD feasted. More from @ChrisBHaynes ⤵️
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 21, 2020
Howard, and to a lesser degree McGee, are playing a dangerous game here.
The Lakers are up 2-0 on Denver, sure, but the Los Angeles Clippers were up 3-1 on them at one point and everyone remembers how that turned out.
On Sunday night, the Nuggets were down by as many as 16 at one stage. Rather than get defeated by the prospect of a second straight loss, they battled back and actually took the lead with 20 seconds left in the outing.
Yikes Paul George. https://t.co/cbudiW6cI7
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 21, 2020
They are a scrappy group.
The last thing Howard and Co. want to do is give Denver extra motivation.
The Lakers and Nuggets are set to play Game 3 on Tuesday night.
If LA emerges victorious, the series is over. No team in NBA history has come back from being down 0-3 to win a seven-game series.
Should the Nuggets prevail, however, then they will very much be back in the series. At that point, people will no doubt start remembering that the Toronto Raptors fell down 0-2 in the Conference Finals last year before ultimately coming back to win the NBA Championship.