Game 4 of the NBA Finals was the most important game of the season for these Los Angeles Lakers. Ahead 2-1 in the series, a win would give them a commanding lead while a loss would tie the series and turn it into a best-of-3 with the Miami Heat.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were able to lead the Lakers to a hard-fought 102-96 victory, moving to within one win away from an NBA championship.
At this point in the season the pressure of the games is unbelievable. Many are unable to handle that, but the best embrace it and thrive. The chemistry and openness within this Lakers team has been something that has benefitted them throughout all of the difficulties this season has provided.
They have no problems saying anything that needs to be said, and James delivered that message prior to Game 4 in the team’s group text.
“When I woke up from my nap this morning after our team meeting, I just felt that. I felt that vibe. I felt that pressure. I felt like for me personally, this was one of the biggest games of my career,” James said.
“I just wanted to relay that message to my teammates, the type of zone I was in, the type of moment it was, and the kind of team we were playing against. After the Game 3 win, that confidence they had, the confidence they still have even after tonight’s loss. They are just a gritty, so damn-well-coached team.
“I feel like if we’re going to be a championship ballclub, if we want to really be a championship team, that we got to have that same grit and that same attitude. It was my mindset. I’m still in it. You can see my mind kind of working right now.”
As far as his legacy goes, this contest undoubtedly ranks up there for James. He led the Lakers with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists while combining with Davis to limit Heat star Jimmy Butler to just 11 points over the final three quarters.
Lakers role players seemed to receive James’ message as well.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was absolutely huge on the night with 15 points and five assists, Danny Green added 10, and the likes of Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris all played their roles perfectly.
Vogel credits Davis, James for containing Butler
James didn’t just express the importance of Game 4 to his team before the contest, he showed it on the court as well. He and Davis were tasked with containing Butler for much of the contest and they did an excellent job in doing so, leading to praise from the Lakers head coach.
“That was a big part of our plan,” Frank Vogel said following the win. “They rose to the challenge.”
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