Despite LeBron James’ heavy resistance, the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-111 on Monday to tie them 4-0 on aggregate to secure their first NBA Finals appearance.
LeBron James had 40 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. He never rested for a minute, trying desperately to reach the 11th final of his career.
‘King James’ after 20 seasons in the NBA It cast doubt on his future, according to US media.I am also considering withdrawing.
“Let’s see what happens next. I don’t know. To be honest, there’s a lot to think about. I have a lot of work to do,” James said in a cryptic message at a press conference.
An ESPN reporter then reported that James said: Eager to fight for a fifth ring, he said he was considering not playing next year.
The 38-year-old forward has two more seasons left on his Lakers contract and has always expressed a goal to keep playing until his son Bronnie arrives in the league, scheduled for 2024.
On Monday, James had the final shot to tie the game, but a rushed shot to the basket was blocked by the Denver defense and a forced shot went off target, much to the frustration of 20,000 Los Angeles fans. invited.
Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets, who were trailing 15 points at halftime, won the game and will face either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics in the Finals.
The Heat, who are leading 3-0, could also qualify for Game 4 in Miami on Tuesday.
As one of those playoff surprises, the Lakers had a near-impossible mission to close the 3-0 gap, a feat no team has been able to accomplish.
LeBron tried to defy the announced loss and on Monday said he wants at least one win to defend the honor of the Lakers, the NBA’s most successful franchise, along with the Celtics.
The forward did a great job scoring 31 goals in the first half. But his struggles were dashed before a stellar ensemble performance by the Nuggets, the West’s best team in the regular season.
“We never gave up,” said two-time NBA MVP Jokic. “It’s been five years and we never gave up, when we were bad, when we were good. That’s what happened today.” rice field.
The Serb player had his eighth triple-double in the playoffs had 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists, while Canadian Jamal Murray contributed 25 points and five assists.
Jokic, who was named MVP of the series, thus broke the same postseason triple-double record set by the legendary Wilt Chamberlain seven times since 1967.
The Serb averaged a triple-double in two straight rounds and led the Nuggets until they broke the cursed wall in the West Finals.
Over half a century of history, Denver has crashed four times in that time, the last three against the Lakers (1985, 2009 and 2020).is one of 11 teams in the Showcase that have not had a championship.
The game got off to a strong start for the Lakers, thanks to a successful starting five adjustment and LeBron James’ iron will to launch a historic comeback.
After missing his first 13 3-point shots in the series, the forward was inspired to dunk all four of his shots in the first quarter.
James hit two free throws to reach a record 31 points in the first half of the playoffs (11/13). He had not reached 30 points in any of his previous three games.
The Lakers headed into the locker room with a maximum 15-point (73 to 58) advantage, but quickly got out of hand with Denver’s avalanche offense as the second half began.
While the Lakers’ offense would have sunk if not through James, Jokic revitalized and the Nuggets all worked together for a devastating third quarter, ending the game with a 36-16 run.
The Lakers entered the final quarter of the season, starting five points behind.
After Anthony Davis made four free throws, Jokic put the Nuggets ahead and LeBron missed the Lakers’ final attempt to force overtime in a heart-stopping final moment. The game was tied at 111.
This forced exit puts a bitter end to the Lakers’ comeback after missing the playoffs in February. They ended up getting tickets and unexpectedly eliminated the reigning champions, the Grizzlies and the Warriors.