The Los Angeles Lakers ended their 10-year NBA Finals drought by defeating the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, 117-107.
LeBron James was a man on a mission as he was aggressive getting to the cup and finding his teammates for open looks whenever the Nuggets decided to double him. James really got going in the second quarter when he was relentless attacking the paint and finishing through contact.
However, James put on a masterpiece of a fourth quarter as the superstar was determined to put Denver away. The three-time NBA champion had been struggling with his jump shot the past couple of games but caught fire from the field, draining contested jumper after jumper to put the game away.
James capped off his run with a top-of-the-key three, effectively icing the game in the process. He became the first Lakers player since James Worthy to record a playoff triple-double with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.
James finished the night with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
Anthony Davis also came up huge for Los Angeles, chipping in 27 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a highlight reel block on Michael Porter Jr. Davis also had a huge fourth quarter moment, stepping into a three that pushed the lead to 10 points.
Making his second straight start, Dwight Howard was once again a pivotal player. He provided the defensive energy and rebounding that the team needed. Howard helped limit Nikola Jokic to only 20 points on the night, a huge accomplishment given what the big man showed during the Nuggets’ postseason run.
Danny Green arguably had his best game of the series, knocking down 2-of-4 of his attempts from beyond the arc and making winning plays on the defensive end that helped keep Denver at bay. Green finished with 11 points and two blocks.
One of the biggest differences in the game was points off turnovers as the Lakers scored 22 compared to only 11 for the Nuggets. L.A.s defense was active throughout the night, playing the passing lanes and getting physical with Denver that ignited their fast break attack.
What’s next for the Lakers
While the Lakers are officially in the NBA Finals, they once again have to wait for their opponent as the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are currently embroiled in a competitive Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
The Heat are the favorites to make it out as they are up 3-2, but as the bubble has shown 3-1 series leads are not safe and the Celtics are more than capable of overcoming that deficit.
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