LeBron James, of the Los Angeles Lakers, celebrates during Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. (Mark J. Terrill)
Lake Buena Vista – LeBron James woke up from his game day nap on Tuesday and decided it was time to send a message to his teammates at the Los Angeles Lakers.
He grabbed his phone and told the Lakers they were facing a game that he had to win.
“I felt that vibe. I felt that pressure, “said James.” I felt that, for me personally, this was one of the most important games of my career, “he added.
James and the Lakers regain control of these NBA Finals, one victory away from the 17th franchise championship.
James finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Anthony Davis's 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds left finally settled things and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 102-96 in the fourth game.
The Lakers lead 3-1 and can win the title, the first in a decade, when the series resumes on Friday.
“I play big. A great moment,” said James about Davis' 3-pointer. “Not only for AD, but also for our team and for our franchise,” he added.
Davis finished with 22 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 15 and Danny Green added 10 for the Lakers, who were not left behind at any point in the final 20 minutes. The Lakers are now 56-0 this season when they lead the fourth quarter.
This is the 36th time a team has held a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
Of the 35 above, the team with that advantage has won the title 34 times: James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 became the exception when they won three straight games to defeat Golden State.
In the 3-1 finals situation, the series has ended in five games 51.4% of the time (18 cases), in six games 40% of the time (14 cases), and in seven games 8.6% of the time (three cases).
James stated that the work is not finished. But he knows the Lakers are about to return to the top of the NBA. “I love what we did tonight,” he said.