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Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Playoffs 2020: 'I knew it was winning time' - LeBron James on his late-game defence on Jamal Murray

After the Lakers' 126-114 Game 1 win, the Western Conference Finals have been competitive, to say the least, with all of the previous three games decided by a margin of eight points or fewer.

Los Angeles led most of Game 4, including all of the final three quarters, to win 114-108, thanks in large part to LeBron James' two-way takeover late in the fourth quarter.

After a short rest, James checked back into the game with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter when the Lakers led 96-92. Over the rest of the way, he not only scored seven of the team's final 18 points but also guarded the Nuggets' best player in Jamal Murray.

MORE: Postgame AD discusses injured left ankle

"I think it changed when LeBron went to Murray," Rajon Rondo said not long after the final whistle to Spectrum Sportsnet's Mike Trudell.

For the game, Murray finished with a team-high 32 points (12-20 FGs) and eight assists.

During this final stretch of the game, Murray had six of the Nuggets' 16 points but he was restricted to 1-of-4 shooting from the field with four of his six points coming from the free-throw line - trips awarded to him after fouls by Markieff Morris and Alex Caruso.

MORE: Takeaways - Lakers win Game 4 as LBJ takes over late

"LeBron asked for the assignment," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel shared in his postgame press conference.

"Murray had a great night. Nothing was really working in terms of trying to slow him down until Bron took that assignment."

"He just loves the challenges, especially late game" James' All-Star teammate Anthony Davis said about the 17-year veteran picking up Murray late.

"Guarding the best big, he wants to guard the best perimeter player and take on that challenge. I mean, he did it last series with James [Harden]. So, he wants to take on those challenges and make them score over him."

Along with James, Davis combined for 12 of the team's last 18 points. AD finished with a game-high 34 points, 14 of which came in a perfect first quarter.

"I knew it was winning time," James said postgame talking about his defence to switch onto Murray late in the game as he nearly finished with second consecutive triple-double - 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

The win puts James and the Lakers within one game of the 2020 NBA Finals. It would be James' 10th Finals appearance and ninth in the last decade, meanwhile, for the franchise, it would be the 32nd overall and the first since 2010.

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