LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers to help the once-proud organization regain its shine. In the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, he made clear again and again and again that he was going to make good on his word.
James stepping back. James with a fadeaway. James pulling up.
Soon after, NBA personnel began to prepare the Western Conference championship trophy presentation.
With a 117-107 win, the Lakers eliminated the Denver Nuggets to advance to the NBA Finals. They knocked out their first-round opponents in five, they knocked out their second-round opponents in five. Then they did it again, ending the Nuggets' charmed run.
Now there's another trophy James wants.
James finished with a triple-double, scoring 38 points, with 16 rebounds and 10 assists - with 16 of those points coming in a fourth quarter he dominated. Anthony Davis scored 27 points, including a pair of three-pointers, a block and two steals.
James had the opening tip, but with Jamal Murray hassling him he lost his balance and tipped over, stepping out of bounds. It was a rare miscue on the night.
Heading into the game, the Lakers were 26-1 when they had a double-digit lead at halftime, with their only loss coming to the Clippers. That statistic seemed in danger as the third quarter closed. Nuggets forward Jerami Grant scored 14 points in the third quarter, picking up for Nikola Jokic, who was sitting out with four fouls.
They tied the score at 84 before Davis hit a three-pointer with one second left in the period to give the Lakers an 87-84 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets fought in that period, they were finally knocked out by James.
(Ganguli reported from Los Angeles.)
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