LAKE BUENA VISTA – Jamal Murray Gets the Acclaim but Los Angeles Lakers are a victory away from returning to the NBA Finals and solely one other comeback from 3-1 down by the Denver Nuggets can cease them.
Anthony Davis scored 34 factors, LeBron James had 26 and the Lakers beat the Nuggets 114-108 on Thursday night time in Recreation Four of the Western Convention finals. “We performed nice down the stretch, we performed nice general,” Davis mentioned. “Nonetheless some issues that we are able to repair if we need to put this factor away.”
Davis acquired the Lakers off to a quick begin along with his scoring and James helped them end it along with his protection, forcing Jamal Murray into some late misses after the guard had stored the Nuggets in it with an array of high-difficulty baskets.
“I knew it was successful time and Jamal had it going,” James mentioned. James added 9 rebounds and eight assists, and the Lakers had 12 offensive rebounds for a whopping 25-6 benefit in second-chance factors.
“That is the Western Convention finals, Recreation 4. When you can’t assist us on the defensive finish, perhaps you shouldn’t be on the ground,” Denver coach Michael Malone mentioned. “We now have to have the ability to lock in, end with a rebound. We had too many empty possessions tonight.”
Recreation 5 is Saturday night time, when the Lakers can attain the NBA Finals for the primary time in a decade. Davis mentioned he expects to be positive for it after rolling his ankle within the fourth quarter. The Nuggets will probably be going through elimination for the seventh time within the bubble. They had been down 3-1 towards Utah within the first spherical and climbed out of the identical gap towards the Los Angeles Clippers within the West semifinals.
However they couldn’t come again on this recreation, getting inside one level within the opening minute of the fourth quarter however always turned again from there by a key cease or rebound by the Lakers.
“We simply had so many breakdowns all through the sport,” Murray mentioned. “We’ve simply acquired to be higher.” The Lakers have 16 championships, one behind Boston for essentially the most in NBA historical past, however they haven’t performed for one since successful their most up-to-date title in 2010.
The Lakers began Dwight Howard at heart and he had 12 factors and 11 rebounds, serving to put Nikola Jokic into foul bother. Murray had 32 factors and eight assists, however Jokic completed with simply 16 factors and 7 rebounds.
Davis scored 27 factors in Recreation Three however the 6-foot-10 ahead acknowledged that his two-rebound efficiency was “unacceptable.” He got here out way more aggressively Thursday after the Lakers performed from behind a lot of the final recreation.
With an array of quick jumpers, Davis made his first six pictures earlier than anybody else on the Lakers made a basket. Then Howard scored on consecutive observe pictures earlier than James adopted along with his first two discipline objectives.
Jamal Murray stored the Lakers from getting too distant with a 7-for-Eight begin. He adopted his acrobatic layup round James with 2 half minutes remaining within the half with a pair of free throws that minimize it to 4, earlier than the Lakers took a 60-55 edge to the locker room.
The Nuggets shot 59% within the first half however the Lakers had an 18-2 benefit in second-chance factors.
The Lakers gave the impression to be taking management when Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope mixed for a flurry that pushed the result in 11 with underneath Four minutes remaining within the third, however Michael Porter Jr. hit two 3-pointers late within the interval that minimize it to 87-84 going to the fourth.
Lakers: Howard hadn’t began in any of his 10 postseason appearances and didn’t play a lot in any respect within the final spherical, when the Lakers went small to match up towards the Houston Rockets. He made two begins within the common season. … Caldwell-Pope scored 13 factors and Rondo had 11.
Nuggets: Jerami Grant scored 17 factors and Porter had 13.