When LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in July of 2018 he intended of returning the famous franchise to the NBA Finals.
Missing the playoffs in his first season in LA, many doubted whether he would be able to fulfill his desire.
It may be happening in the most unusual of circumstances, far from the packed out Staples Center he would have pictured in his mind, but nonetheless, the Lakers have punched their ticket to The Finals for the first time since 2010.
Sitting on the floor just moments after the final buzzer, James had a look of reflection on his face, and he recalled the thoughts that were running through his head in his postgame press conference.
"I was thinking about some of my teammates, who this is their first appearance in The Finals," James said. "Obviously, AD had a lot of my thought process, this is the reason I wanted to be a teammate of his, why I brought him here. I wanted him to see things he hadn't seen before in this league. To be able to come through for him meant a lot for me personally."
"Then I started thinking about the next opponent. Boston had a few moments in my head, Miami had a few moments in my head as well, how challenging that's gong to be whoever wins that series. Then I just started thinking about my journey as well. All that was going through my mind as the confetti was on the floor and coming down on my shoulder and things of that nature."
To say James came through for Davis and the rest of the Lakers organisation would be the understatement of the century. Finishing with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, he was simply unstoppable in the close out situation, pouring in 16 fourth quarter points to end the Nuggets magical playoff run.
Struggling with his jumpshot throughout the season return, James scored on all three levels in the final 12 minutes, driving to the basket with force, cooking in the mid-range and finally knocking down a straightaway trey that effectively ended the game with 1:57 left in the game.
"Once LeBron starts making outside shots late in the game, I kind of know it's over for the other team," Alex Caruso said.
Averaging 26.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists across 15 playoff games so far, James became the first player in NBA history to head to the NBA Finals averaging over 25 points during a playoff run with three different franchises.
"Time and time again you have to remind people...he has to remind people. We forget this guy's the greatest player in the goddamn world," Danny Green said postgame.
"He's been doing it for 17 years, it's crazy but it just shows you what he's capable of. Obviously, he doesn't do it as much as he used to do it...but he's very capable, at any given moment he can take over a game and he did it tonight. He closed out that game, he closed out the series for us."
Perhaps the scariest part of the epic playoff performance is how locked in James is with his team four wins away from an NBA Championship.
"I don't unfortunately," LeBron responded when asked if he savours these moments more as he gets older, "I wish I did."
"It happens so fast and my mind is so locked in on the journey. It's hard for me to take in and appreciate what we just accomplished. It's just how I've always been."
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