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LeBron scores 30, and the Lakers avoid 1st-round elimination with a 119-108 win over champion Denver



LeBron scores 30, and the Lakers avoid 1st-round elimination with a 119-108 win over champion Denver
Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers lastly cracked the Denver Nuggets’ mastery of this rivalry and prolonged their playoff lives for no less than one other recreation.

To completely no person’s shock, LeBron James led the way in which.

James scored 30 factors, Anthony Davis added 25 factors and 23 rebounds, and the Lakers prevented postseason elimination with a 119-108 victory over Denver in Sport 4 of their first-round sequence Saturday night time.

D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves scored 21 factors apiece for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who snapped their 11-game dropping streak in opposition to the defending NBA champions with their first win over the Nuggets since December 2022.

A sequence with clear patterns and rhythms lastly modified within the Lakers’ favor. For the fourth straight recreation, Los Angeles took a double-digit lead earlier than the Nuggets rallied within the second half behind Nikola Jokic.

However for the primary time on this sequence, the Lakers didn’t wilt underneath the defending champions’ strain. The 39-year-old James scored 14 factors within the fourth quarter on 6-of-8 taking pictures, once more carrying the Lakers late in his twenty first NBA season.

Sport 5 is Monday night time in Denver.

“We’ve given ourselves one other lifeline, and it’s a one-game sequence for us,” James mentioned. “Monday’s recreation is crucial recreation of the season for us, and we perceive that.”

Denver swept Los Angeles out of the Western Convention finals final season, however the present Lakers responded to this 0-3 deficit with a efficiency extra worthy of a group that rolled into the postseason with 12 wins in 15 video games.

“We get one other alternative to go play another recreation, and if we win, come again and play one other one and preserve shifting from there,” Reaves mentioned. “Odds aren’t stacked in our favor, however anytime we are able to preserve ourselves floating above water and provides ourselves a possibility to do one thing particular, we’re up for the problem.”

Jokic had 33 factors, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for his 18th profession triple-double and second on this sequence, however the two-time MVP and his teammates couldn’t reassert their standard late-game dominance over the Lakers.

The Lakers’ 19-point lead with simply over six minutes left dwindled to 113-106 on Jokic’s three-point play with 1:25 to play, however Reaves hit a brief jumper earlier than including 4 free throws within the ultimate minute.

Denver in the end couldn’t overcome one more gradual offensive begin in a sequence stuffed with them.

“After all we need to (begin quicker), however I discovered in horse racing, it’s not the way you begin, it’s the way you end,” Jokic mentioned. “We didn’t end immediately very well, so hopefully we are able to do a greater job. However sure, we need to be up and management the sport, however it looks as if that didn’t occur to us.”

Michael Porter Jr. had 27 factors and 11 rebounds for Denver, and Jamal Murray scored 22 factors whereas going 0 for 4 on 3-point makes an attempt. Aaron Gordon had simply seven factors for the Nuggets after placing up 29 in Sport 3 through the highest-scoring playoff recreation of his profession — however offense wasn’t the Nuggets’ downside, in keeping with coach Michael Malone.

“The paint (protection) was a joke,” Malone mentioned after his group allowed a whopping 72 factors within the paint.

“Each huddle, I appeared like a damaged document tonight,” Malone added. “Each huddle was, ‘Paint, paint, paint.’ (In) Sport 3, that they had 70 and we discovered a method to win. Tonight, that they had 72. That’s an unbelievable quantity. … I simply didn’t assume we had the requisite physicality or urgency. This didn’t look like a closeout recreation.”

The second-seeded Nuggets additionally misplaced a closeout recreation in final season’s first spherical whereas up 3-0 on Minnesota, however Denver received that sequence in 5 video games and misplaced solely three extra occasions on the way in which to its first title.

Whereas Jokic was prolific and James seized the highlight late, Davis was excellent for the fourth straight recreation. His 23 rebounds matched his profession playoff excessive, and he even shared the Lakers’ group lead with six assists.

“It’s robust to get swept,” Davis mentioned. “No person desires that feeling, particularly going to the summer time. You’ve received to stay with that feeling for the remainder of the summer time. So we didn’t actually discuss it. We all know what’s at stake. No person desires that feeling in your mouth for the remainder of the summer time. The best way we performed tonight is the way in which we’ve to play the remainder of the sequence.”

The Lakers confirmed no give up of their dire circumstances in Sport 4, pounding the ball inside for 44 factors within the paint through the first half and taking their fourth halftime lead of the sequence.

The Lakers stretched their benefit to fifteen factors within the third quarter and stored constructing till the ultimate minutes, when Jokic and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sparked a Nuggets rally.

“They had been actually pushing the tempo,” Jokic mentioned. “They’d open layups. They had been destroying us within the paint. We couldn’t make a shot. They couldn’t make a shot both (at occasions), however it looks as if that affected our protection rather a lot. That’s an excellent group.”

Reggie Jackson performed 9 minutes for Denver regardless of spraining his ankle within the second half of Sport 3.

Caleb Williams, the Heisman Trophy-winning former USC quarterback and the No. 1 total decide on this weekend’s NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, watched the sport from courtside.



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