James and Davis put Lakers in command
ORLANDO: Anthony Davis and LeBron James combined for 60 points as the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers seized control of their Western Conference finals series with a 114-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.
James finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists and Davis had 34 points as Lakers held on to beat the Nuggets and take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.
Game Five is tomorrow, Thai time. The Lakers have wrapped up both their previous series in five games.
Canadian forward Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 32 points and eight assists, while Jerami Grant finished with 17 for Denver. Serbia’s Nikola Jokic was held in check most of the game and finished with a disappointing 16 points. He missed all four field goal attempts in the fourth.
James took it upon himself to guard Murray with the game on the line.
“He’s is one of the hottest guys in the bubble,” said James. “He’s very shifty to guard. I just use my length and athleticism, high hand him and meet him at the basket.”
“I appreciate the respect but we didn’t win the game,” Murray said.
Denver have dug another big hole in these play-offs and if they are going to advance to the NBA finals they will have to come back from a 3-1 deficit for the third straight series.
Denver lost game four in each of their first two series against Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers before making a pair of historic comebacks.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 13 points and Rajon Rondo tallied 11 points for the Lakers, who bounced back from a loss in game three in which they rebounded poorly by outscoring the Nuggets 25-6 in second-chance points on Thursday.
“We knew coming in that we didn’t rebound at all [in Game Three] and we just tried to change that,” said James.
Denver missed their last five shots of the game as the Lakers played better down the stretch.
The Lakers’ Anthony Davis, left, and LeBron James celebrate their win.