The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, but that final win may be the hardest one yet.
Up against a team that's no stranger to being in this position, the Denver Nuggets are looking to make their third consecutive 3-1 comeback to keep their title hopes alive.
In what should be a thrilling Game 5, we have you covered on three things to watch below.
The comeback kids
At this point, you have to wonder if the Nuggets are purposely going down 3-1 just to make things interesting.
OK, maybe not, but they certainly like to make things interesting.
This team made history in the Western Conference Semifinals when they completed their second-straight 3-1 series comeback, this time at the hands of the LA Clippers. No other team in NBA history had ever overcome a 3-1 deficit twice in one postseason. In fact, there's only two other franchises (the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets) who have ever overcome a 3-1 deficit more than once.
Now they look to add to that chapter in history by becoming the only franchise to have three 3-1 comebacks to their name.
The list doesn't stop there, either.
Denver has won six consecutive games facing elimination, tying a record set by this very same franchise back in 1994. A win in Game 5 against the Lakers would give this current Nuggets team the most wins in a row facing elimination in NBA history.
So where does the comeback start? Keep an eye on the defence as Denver has turned things up a notch on that end of the floor with its back against the wall.
The Nuggets' defense could be problematic for the Lakers 👀 pic.twitter.com/7ltMRQ4B5C- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 25, 2020
Davis' ankle injury
In the fourth quarter of Game 4, Anthony Davis landed wrong on a pull-up jumper and turned his ankle. Hitting the ground hard and clearly in pain, it took Davis a moment to get back on his feet. He would tighten up the laces on his sneakers and continue to play the rest of the game, but his status is something to monitor heading into Game 5.
"My ankle feels fine," Davis told reporters after Game 4. "I've got tonight, tomorrow, before the game to get it back to where it is, but it's good enough to play. I rolled it pretty bad, but not too bad. I'll be fine."
Even if Davis does fight through the pain and play, it will be interesting to see if that has any impact on how much he plays with the Lakers holding a commanding 3-1 lead.
The All-Star forward has been on a tear this playoffs and he's taken his game to another level in the Western Conference Finals. Averaging 32.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game on 55.3% shooting from the field, the Nuggets haven't had much of an answer for the do-it-all big man.
Any sort of limitation in playing time or usage would certainly alter the Lakers' gameplan, as the majority of their offence has run through Davis.
More LeBron guarding Murray?
Jamal Murray has looked like the Human Torch at times in these playoffs - it only takes one or two makes for him to catch fire and take over a game.
In Game 4, most of his damage was coming from around the rim with a handful of flat out ridiculous acrobatic finishes in traffic, including this Michael Jordan-esque one:
😱😱😱 @BeMore27 pic.twitter.com/ru6LJrPObH- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) September 25, 2020
Murray had 22 points on a super efficient 9-for-13 (69.2%) shooting from the field as the Nuggets trimmed the Lakers' lead to just three points heading into the fourth quarter. To prevent him from possibly stealing a victory and tying the series at 2-2, LeBron James took on the assignment of guarding Murray to close the game.
According to matchup data, James held Murray to just two points on 1-for-4 shooting from the field with two assists and one turnover in the 8.5 partial possessions they were matched up together. Murray would still score 10 points in the final frame, but Denver would come up just short as James came up with a big stop - although many argue that he may have fouled Murray - with the game on the line.
After the game, LeBron talked about taking on that challenge, showing Murray the ultimate sign of respect.
"I knew it was winning time and Jamal had it going. He's special. ... I told my teammates I had him," James told the media.
Don't be surprised if we see more of James on Murray with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line in Game 5 if things get close again.
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