In a throwback game that featured elite levels of defense for all four quarters, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to pull out a narrow 102-96 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
After a letdown performance in Game 3, the Lakers came out much more focused and seemed intent on limiting what the Heat like to do in the half court. Jimmy Butler was able to get going early, scoring on his first five attempts, but was shut down in the second half with LeBron James and Anthony Davis picking him up.
James, on the other hand, had trouble holding onto the ball as he committed five turnovers that led to a couple Miami baskets. James quickly cleaned it up in the second half, limiting risky passes and playing more in the post to dictate what the defense gave him.
He was more aggressive in the third quarter, nailing a couple of deep threes that eventually opened up driving lanes. James was also physical below the basket, muscling his way down low to rebounds and drawn fouls. James finished with yet another near triple-double, recording 28 points, 12 rebound and eight assists.
Miami was intent on limiting Davis and he struggled to find room to shoot in the first half, scoring only eight points. However, Davis still was dominant throughout the night with the defense he provided on nearly every possession.
Davis was everywhere in the fourth quarter, hounding Butler on one end and getting to the line on the other. However, his biggest moment came with the Lakers up six in the final minute where he drained a 3-pointer at the top of the arc to put the team up nine and seal the game.
Davis had 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks.
While L.A.’s stars showed up, it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who deserved the game ball as he jumpstarted the offense in the first quarter and came up with huge plays in the fourth. Caldwell-Pope nailed a corner 3 to extend the lead in the fourth, then followed it with a drive and layup to keep the Heat at bay. He finished with 15 points and five assists.
What’s next for Lakers
The Game 4 victory means the Lakers only need one more win to secure the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.
Miami has not backed down from any challenge and will give Los Angeles everything they have in Game 5, but James, Davis and head coach Frank Vogel have a pristine opportunity to take home the title.
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