Headlined by Rui Hachimura’s torrid shooting, the Los Angeles Lakers got off to a hot start in the second quarter of Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets to grab the lead. Running the offense in the Lakers’ small-ball unit, LeBron James played a key role in that run. Yet with just under eight minutes left in the second, James blew what looked like a very easy opportunity for two points on the fast break.
All alone in the open floor, James prepared for his signature reverse slam, but the ball slipped out of his hands and out of bounds, which spun a simple bucket into a turnover. Adding insult to injury, James had left a point-blank layup short only minutes earlier as well.
One of the funnier parts of the play is Hachimura’s reaction as he heads back up the floor. I can’t tell if he gets a slight kick out of the error or if he’s grimacing because of its absurd nature, but his emotions are apparent.
“I can’t ever remember seeing that from him,” ESPN’s Mike Breen said in the immediate aftermath.
While that play is logged as a turnover and not a missed shot, James entered Thursday’s game 84-of-87 on dunks between the regular season and postseason this year, so that sort of misstep is absolutely a rarity for the star forward.