LeBron James: Lakers Fell Short Of Goal Of Winning Championship In 2022-23
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James gave everything he had for the Los Angeles Lakers, but in the end it simply wasn’t enough as they fell in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals 113-111 and were swept by the Denver Nuggets. LeBron finished with 40 points on the night including 31 in the first half, but had his final second attempt to tie the game blocked by Denver’s Aaron Gordon.

Even though the Lakers came up short, it was still an extremely impressive turnaround from the beginning of the season when they began the year 2-10 and looked like they wouldn’t even make the playoffs. But in the immediate aftermath of Game 4, James was in no mood for moral victories as he felt the Lakers failed to accomplish their goal.

“I mean, I don’t know,” LeBron began. “Like I said, I haven’t began to even think about next year. We had a great run but we fell short of our goal. Our goal is to win championships. That’s what this franchise is about and we fell short of that. That’s disappointing.”

James and the rest of the Lakers have said all year long that the goal this season was to win a championship. Regardless of how close they came, they did not reach their goal and so there is bound to be disappointment and frustration.

As was the case all series long, the Lakers found themselves with a chance to win Game 4, but simply came up short, something that frustrated LeBron. “I mean, of course, that’s human nature when you’re a competitor,” James said. “Obviously frustrated. Not being able to close out one of these games where you were in every game.

“You know, two games in Denver, two games here, were winning [in] every game. We were up 15 at the half. They hit us with a 36-point quarter, took momentum of the game. We still and had an opportunity but just couldn’t make plays down the stretch. That’s the frustrating part. You tip your hat to them. Like I said, it’s a great team.”

The Lakers fought until the very last second each and every night, but in the end just fell to a superior Nuggets team. LeBron and the Lakers are not far away from completing that ultimate goal, but it just wasn’t meant to be this season despite their best efforts.

LeBron James calls Nuggets the best team he’s faced since joining Lakers

While James may have been frustrated at the outcome, it didn’t stop him from giving credit where it was due to Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets, whom he believes is the best team he’s played since joining the Lakers.

“Me and AD were just talking in the locker room for a little bit. I think we came to the consensus, this is if not, one of the best teams, if not the best team, we’ve played together for all four years. Just well orchestrated, well put together.

“They have scoring. They have shooting. They have play-making. They have smarts. They have length. They have depth. And one thing about their team, when you have a guy like Jokic, who as big as he is but also as cerebral as he is, you can’t really make many mistakes versus a guy like that.”

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