The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from title No. 17.
Behind a combined 50 points from LeBron James (28) and Anthony Davis (22), the Lakers have built a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. After a 40-point triple-double in Game 3, Jimmy Butler again came close to recording a triple-double, as he finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Here are some thoughts from the Lakers Game 4 win.
A tale of two halves for LeBron
The first half was far from what we've come to expect from LeBron James. He scored eight points but did so on 3-for-8 shooting and committed five turnovers after he pledged to take care of the ball after Game 3.
We saw something more of a signature second half from LeBron.
He spent time guarding Jimmy Butler. He spent some time guarding Bam Adebayo. He took care of the ball.
Thanks to a second half in which he scored 20 points and committed just one turnover, James finished with a game-high 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists in under 39 minutes of action.
LeBron James goes to the turnaround fadeaway J! @Lakers 81@MiamiHEAT 75#NBAFinals on ABC pic.twitter.com/6UCsPP365Q- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
LeBron splits the defense and muscles it in through the contact! #NBAFinals @Lakers 88@MiamiHEAT 85- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
5:00 to play on ABC pic.twitter.com/gTwld00AFb
Now, he's one win away from his fourth title.
AD is like that
At least that's what he reminded anyone who can read lips after hitting a huge 3 late in Game 4.
AD FOR 3 TO EXTEND THE LAKERS LEAD!#NBAFinals on ABC pic.twitter.com/hIFP8yDDkU- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
After an uncharacteristically tame performance in Game 3, Davis bounced back to score 22 points, pull down nine boards and dish out four assists. He knocked down the aforementioned big triple and, down the stretch, came up with a huge blocked shot on Jimmy Butler.
AD's CLUTCH BLOCK TO SEAL THE @LAKERS GAME 4 WIN! #NBAFINALS pic.twitter.com/YfY56KxGIj- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
AD came alive in a major way after six pedestrian quarters by his standards.
The Lakers supporting cast steps up in a major way
On a night where it took some time for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to get going, the production of the Lakers supporting cast was as important as ever.
No contributions were greater than those of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who, after scoring 10 points in the opening frame, made big plays in the fourth quarter to finish with 15 points, five assists, and three rebounds.
KCP with back-to-back big buckets for the Lakers!@Lakers 95@MiamiHEAT 91- NBA (@NBA) October 7, 2020
1:37 to play on ABC pic.twitter.com/E3QsEp077V
Danny Green finished with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting, Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris each scored nine points apiece, Alex Caruso scored seven points and Rajon Rondo pulled down seven rebounds, dished out five assists and scored his only two points of the night at a crucial juncture.
In contrast, the Heat got just 13 points from their bench. A huge difference.
After missing Games 2 and 3 with a neck injury suffered in Game 1, All-Star centre Bam Adebayo made a welcomed return into the Heat's lineup for Game 4.
It didn't take long for him to make his presence felt.
He's baaaaaack 😎 pic.twitter.com/pIPNJWijHz- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 7, 2020
Bam scored the first bucket of the game and by the half, was up to nine points and four boards, despite the fact his two fouls kept him under 15 minutes of action.
He would finish with 15 points (on 6-for-8 shooting) and seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action. Not bad for a 23-year-old returning from an injury to play in his second NBA Finals game.
Winning the first quarter is important
At the end of one, LA held a 27-22 lead.
Why is that important? More than just getting out to a solid start, the winner of each game of these Finals has held the lead at the end of the first quarter, as reported by USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt.
This postseason, the Lakers are now 12-0 when leading after one. The only stat more important is that…
The Lakers don't lose if they're leading through three
In earning the win tonight, the Lakers move to 56-0 when leading after three quarters.
That stat speaks for itself. LA maintains leads like no other, so holding a lead through three could be a key to hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
For the first time in the series, the teams get two days off before they're back in action for Game 5 on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 a.m. IST. While the Lakers look to finish the job, the Heat look to become the second team in league history to overcome a 3-1 Finals deficit.
See you all then.
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