Lake Buena Vista, Florida – LeBron James Wake up from a pre-match nap on Tuesday and include two words in a group chat text message at the Los Angeles Lakers that says it all: must win.
“We see our leader’s message” Anthony Davis He said after the Lakers’ 102-96 win in the fourth game over the Miami Heat made them 3-1 in the NBA Finals. “He left it at that.”
The result leaves Los Angeles just one victory away from the tournament, which will be the organization’s 17th – tied for the Boston Celtics most of the time – and fourth for James, split across three different franchises.
James led the Lakers with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists and overcame six turnovers – five of them committed before halftime – to secure the match.
“I personally felt this was one of the biggest matches of my career,” said 35-year-old James, the league leaders in playoff wins. “I just wanted to pass this message on to my team mates, the type of region I was in, the type of moment I had and the type of team we were playing against. …
“They are just a very brave and well-trained team. I feel like if we’re going to be a championship ball club, if we really want to be a championship team, we have to have the same determination and the same attitude. It was my mind. I’m still in it.”
As much as James embodied this approach by playing the entire fourth quarter and amassing 11 points (on a 7 to 7 off the wrong line), 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the final frame, Davis’ defensive work was on Jimmy Butler Which made it a winnable game in the first place.
With a 40-point triple-point score of 14 to 20 in a Game 3 win, Butler stayed hot to start Game 4, scoring 11 points on a 5-to-5 shots in the first quarter. Butler scored only 11 points in the remainder of the match, and won 3 of 12 in the last three quarters, including 1-to-7 while Davis was guarding him, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information.
“We just wanted to give him a different look, honestly,” said Davis, who finished the match with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks and helped Los Angeles beat Miami by 17 minutes in 42 minutes. He was on the ground. “We were asking too much from Brun. I just told Brun,” I’ll take him. “
James – who promoted Davis for best defensive player all season all season in the same way that Davis endorsed James for Best Player, only for the duo who finished second in the respective awards – praised the huge man.
“This guy can do everything defensively,” James said. “Guarding the ball, guarding the column, moving his feet with the guards, the contest, can he materialize with the adults. I mean, I need to say more?”
Los Angeles led by a five-point lead in the fourth quarter, pushing them to nine points with Davis 3 with 39.5 seconds left before winning with six. The Lakers boosted their record to 56-0 this season when they were up front after three quarters – and they remain at the top of the lead in protecting the late lead in league history. Michael Jordan came in in the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who was 78-1 (987) ahead of fourth, second.
“I think the fourth quarter, obviously, is a win time,” James said. “You have 12 minutes to go in defensively at the top, kind of hold onto that lead, and then you have to take an attack. Obviously, I didn’t know the stats coming tonight. But for us, that’s just a mentality … if we win the quarter, we win the game.”
And if the Lakers win the fifth game on Friday (9pm ET, ABC), they will win the title. It just doesn’t look like there’s a lot of James naps every now and then.
“At this point in the season, I don’t care about rest. I don’t really care about sleep. I don’t care about sleep,” James said. “I don’t care about comfort because I can rest in a week, maximum, if I happen to go there. I can rest for a month in a row, which I wouldn’t do because of my identity; you know that.
“But I can rest after that. I can sleep for eight hours, wake up, eat and then go back to sleep right away if I want to.”
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