LeBron James has made his case for NBA Finals MVP.
Anthony Davis made a case for himself in the first two games of the NBA Finals.
James texted his teammates after his pregame nap before game four; it is a “must win” game. He played like it.
James finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists furthermore, six turnovers in a 102-96 win as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat 102-96 in Game 4.
Lakers lead the series 3-1 and are one win away from their 17th NBA Championship (five were with the Minneapolis Lakers).
“You never stop striving to be perfect or be great,” James said. “A perfect game is not going to happen. But that does not mean you don’t strive to be great every night. Every game has it’s own adjustments and things of that nature. Tonight we had to win on the defensive end and make some timely shots.
It is never enough to just win the game for LeBron; he continues to demonstrate he wants to strive for greatness. The Lakers are now 56-0 this season when they take the lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Anthony Davis’ connected on a dagger 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds left to give the Lakers comfort room and the must-win LeBron demanded. Davis finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and four blocks.
In Game 3, the Lakers committed ten turnovers in the first quarter alone in Game 3, one more than they had total in Game 2. They ended the game with 20, James being responsible for eight and Davis five.
Also, in Game 3, Davis was in foul trouble, it was evident it threw off his rhythm of the game. He was called for three in the first half alone but finished with 15 points.
“We felt bad after losing Game 3,” Davis said. “We did not play the way we were supposed to play. Guys were already on edge coming into tonight. We see the message from our leader; this is a “must-win.” And he just left it at that. Guys knew we had to bring our “A” game.
At one point, Davis owned a pet monkey. He was realizing how hard it was to take care of one. He returned it to the original owner. The goal now is to get the proverbial monkey off his back and win his first NBA Championship.
The Lakers haven’t lost back-to-back games all postseason.
The Heat are on the brink of elimination. The experts predicted a sweep; they accepted the challenge and now face a larger one, winning three in a row to win the series.
The hope of it happening was the return of Bam Adebayo in Game 4. He returned to this game after missing two games with a neck injury. He finished with 15 points.
“Our backs are against the wall,” Adebayo said. “It is not like it has not been done before.”
Adebayo shares a historical point; it is the 36th time that a team has held a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Thirty-five teams have sealed the deal; James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 became the only team to do it when they won three straight games to defeat Golden State.
Jimmy Butler led with 22 points for Miami, Tyler Herro added 21, Duncan Robinson finished with 17.
The beat goes on.
Game 5 is Friday night.