LeBron James Happy With Lakers Sustained Effort In Second Half Of Game 4 Vs. Nuggets
LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Lakers, Nuggets
Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

The first three games of the Los Angeles Lakers’ first round series against the Denver Nuggets have all followed the same format. The Lakers go ahead early thanks to strong play from Anthony Davis and LeBron James, have a halftime lead, but the Nuggets make a run in the third quarter and ultimately take over in the second half to get the win.

In Game 4, the Lakers again went ahead and held a halftime lead, but this time they kept pace with the Nuggets in the third. While they did lose the quarter, it was only by two points and LeBron was happy with the Lakers maintaining their overall effort in the second half to come away with the victory.

“Obviously like we’ve been talking about, we have to sustain our effort, we have to sustain our energy and I thought the third quarter was very important,” James said. “We’ve had a lead in a lot of these games and then the second half, they’ve jumped on us and even though they outscored us by two, we’ve scored with them to keep the lead at 11.

“We were up 13 at half, they outscored us by two in the third but we were able to put up 30 so that definitely helped us going into the fourth and then the fourth for me is just my mindset to close it out. Make winning plays and I was able to make a few.”

LeBron would make one of the biggest plays of the night in the fourth quarter, stripping an unsuspecting Nikola Jokic and racing down for a huge transition dunk that essentially put the game away and kept the Lakers’ season alive.

The third quarter has been an issue for the Lakers all season long as they have often been blitzed by the opposition coming out of the locker room. James acknowledged this as well, noting that they talk about it regularly, but it’s all about putting it into action in the game.

“It’s both. We know, we talked about it,” LeBron added. “We’ve been talking about it, it’s been something that’s been an Achilles heel for us all season, coming into the third quarter with some energy understanding that teams want to try to make that run when the second quarter happens. So we talked about it again tonight and we were able to fix it.

“It goes more than just talking about it, you got to go out there and be about it as well and I thought we did that. So I thought it was very key for us getting this win tonight that we were able to stay a good pace with them throughout the third quarter and like I said, even though they scored 32, we scored 30 and we were able to still maintain that energy going into the fourth.”

The Lakers were able to do just that in Game 4 and because of that, ended their 11-game losing streak to the Nuggets and live to fight another day in these playoffs. But they are going to need to continue to do that if they want to shock everyone and continue to extend this series against the defending champions.

LeBron James discusses importance of Lakers rebounding in Game 4

One thing the Lakers have struggled with mightily in this series is rebounding as the team has regularly been killed on the offensive glass. But in Game 4 the Lakers were able to win the rebounding battle, thanks in large part to Anthony Davis and his 23 boards and LeBron James noted how important that was.

“We have to sustain our energy however we’re able to do that, keep attacking and try to keep them from the things that we can control like fastbreak points,” LeBron said. “We only gave up 12 tonight to them, we only gave up five second-chance points and also at the same time we only gave up nine offensive rebounds.

“So we knew we had to rebound and obviously AD was killer on the glass today with 23 and then everybody else just tried to chip in. So it was key for us to rebound, we got out-rebounded by them, I don’t know in the first three games, but for sure in Game 3. We were able to out-rebound them to tonight and that really helped.”

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