LeBron James gave the Denver Nuggets his best shot on Monday. It wasn’t enough.
Powered by a history-making Nikola Jokić triple-double, the Nuggets rallied for a 113-111 win to complete a 4-0 sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. The victory continued a remarkable postseason run by the Nuggets while securing their first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. They did so while overcoming the best effort of the postseason by one of the game’s all-time greats.
James started the game on fire, scoring 21 points in the first quarter as the Lakers took a 34-26 lead. He shot 7-of-9 from the field, including a 4-of-4 effort from 3-point distance. A lob attempt from beyond the 3-point arc instead dropped through the net for a basket in a sign of things to come.
The bucket sparked a personal 8-0 run by James that gave the Lakers a 23-15 lead. He remained hot throughout the half, and didn’t leave the game until taking an early break to the locker with with 4.3 seconds remaining in the half. The Lakers led 73-58 at the break powered by James’ 31 first-half points.
But the Nuggets weren’t fazed. From there, the game remained a back-and-forth battle through the final minute. But as they’ve done all postseason, the Nuggets made the big plays when it mattered most down the stretch. A Jokić layup in traffic with 51.1 seconds remaining gave Denver the lead for good at 113-11.