Friday, May 24, 2024

NBA playoffs: LeBron’s Lakers stay alive with Game 4 win over Nuggets

HomeSports NewsNBA playoffs: LeBron's Lakers stay alive with Game 4 win over Nuggets

LOS ANGELES — Just when it seemed the Los Angeles Lakers were dead in the water, doomed to be swept out of the playoffs by the mighty Denver Nuggets for the second consecutive season, LeBron James and his teammates made an against-the-odds stand. In an unexpectedly tenacious performance on Saturday night, the Lakers staved off elimination by winning Game 4 119-108, slicing Denver’s series lead to 3-1.

“We gave ourselves another little lifeline,” James said, his battered body dripping with sweat after carrying the Lakers’ hopes yet again with 30 points. “Monday is everything now. It’s a one-game series.”

The sudden turnaround seemed improbable just days ago as speculation swirled about coaching changes and chemistry issues plaguing the Lakers’ star-studded but dysfunctional roster. But with their season teetering on the brink, James and his teammates displayed the kind of grit and determination that has defined the four-time MVP’s legendary career.

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Leading by as many as 18 in the first half, the Lakers for once managed to maintain their cushion after halftime, something they failed to do in the first three games when they squandered double-digit advantages. Whereas James had run out of gas down the stretches previously, on this night he made several vintage plays in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

“Sustaining that effort was key,” James said. “We’ve had leads and let them come back. Tonight when they tried to make a run, we met it.”

Anthony Davis finally looked like his old self with 25 points and a staggering 23 rebounds. D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves poured in 21 points apiece off the bench as five Lakers scored in double figures.

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As a team, they outrebounded the bigger Nuggets 46-40 and shot a blistering 52.2% from the field. It was the kind of gritty, physical performance many had given up on seeing from this Lakers team.

“We made them feel us tonight,” said a fired up James. “They’re gonna make adjustments, they’re well-coached. But we have to be even more locked in on Monday to counter it.”

For the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic had 31 points and 14 rebounds but battled foul trouble. Jamal Murray scored 25 points but struggled from three-point range, hitting just 3 of 11 attempts.

The two-time reigning MVP Jokic said the Nuggets may have let their foot off the gas a bit after going up 3-0.

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“We got a little lax and they took advantage,” Jokic said. “Now it’s back to the drawing board to try and close them out.”

The series now shifts back to Denver for Game 5 on Monday night. While the odds remain heavily stacked against them, the resilient Lakers have managed to breathe new life into their championship dreams for at least one more game.

Whether Saturday’s gritty effort was a final gasp or the start of an epic comeback, LeBron James has drawn from his deep well of faith and determination to give his teammates belief. If the Lakers somehow pull off the improbable 3-1 series comeback, Game 4 may be remembered as the night it all started.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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