The Los Angeles Lakers said goodbye to the playoffs on Monday after suffering a narrow defeat (111-113) against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth game of the series (0-4). A Western Final in which the Angelenos found themselves completely outclassed in all the matches and were unable to close the gap. A situation that left LeBron James especially touched, who after the game set off all the alarms by raising questions about his future.
"It was a pretty cool ride (this season). But I don't know, I don't know. I don't like to say it was a successful year because I don't play for anything other than winning championships at this point in my career... No It's fun for me not to be able to be a part of the Finals," he said. "But we'll see, we'll see. We'll see what happens later. I don't know, I don't know. I have a lot to think about, to be honest, I have a lot to think about. Just personally moving forward with the sport of basketball, I have a lot going on. to think about", he added about the possibility of retiring next season.
The Nuggets, for their part, the best team in the West in the regular season, will seek the first ring in their history against the winner of the Eastern final, which the Miami Heat dominate 3-0 against the Boston Celtics. Those of Denver were very forceful in the four games of the series and put an end to a streak of four straight West finals in which they ended up biting the dust.
With the statistics against him since he has never come back from a 3-0 down in the NBA, LeBron took responsibility at his team's moment of greatest despair and offered a wonderful recital of 40 points (15 of 25 on shots), 10 rebounds and nine assists. The Lakers star, who only rested four seconds in the 48-minute game, had two options to force overtime, but his first shot went to the side of the board and the second, already on the buzzer, was blocked by Aaron Gordon .
However, the efforts of '6' were not enough to stop the solid offense of the Nuggets led again by a great Nikola Jokic who had 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists and won the "Magic" Johnson award for MVP of the west end. The Serbian added his eighth triple-double in these playoffs and thus achieved a new record, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (seven in 1967).
Murray (25 points) and Gordon (22 points) also stood out in a relentless Nuggets in the third quarter (16-36) and who prevailed in a match in which rotations were extremely limited by both teams (Mike Malone used only seven players and Darvin Ham used eight of the Lakers). Anthony Davis went from less to more and finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds for an Los Angeles team that closed some exciting playoffs in which they eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors.
From the first minute of the game, LeBron James went into competitive mode, shooting an incredible 11 of 13 from the field in the first quarter, including a perfect four of four 3-pointers. Everything went great for him in the first period and he managed to put the Lakers ahead at halftime (73-58) against some Nuggets who suffered notable defensive mismatches.
However, those from Denver, with less urgency than their rival, woke up after the break and began to work for the comeback. The angelenos could not hold the good game and they were very regular and inconsistent. A situation that, added to the multiple errors of the Lakers, Jokic knew how to take advantage of to close a game that the locals could win or tie on the last play.