The Los Angeles Lakers are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010 after beating the Denver Nuggets 117 to 107 to finish off their Western Conference Finals matchup.
The Lakers displayed a masterclass of basketball throughout the game with their smooth offense and their impenetrable defense.
The boys in Purple & Gold did not want to give the Nuggets any form of hope as they have been deemed the ‘comeback kids’ in this year’s postseason, following their astonishing comebacks from a 3-1 deficit in both the first and second round. It can be seen how much the Lakers wanted to close out the series then and there as they showed a lot of energy, and heart the entire 48 minutes.
If there was one person who definitely showed he was ready to deliver the final blow to the Nuggets, it was Lebron James.
Lebron seems to be back in ‘Finals Mode’ after his breathtaking game 5 performance where he finished with a triple-double of 38 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists — making him the first Laker to have 35+ points, 15+ rebounds, and 10+ assists in a game since ‘Big Game’ James Worthy had a monster triple-double in game 7 of the 1988 Finals.
Lebron’s playmaking is something that will be there each and every game as he always looks to get his teammates going. But what was so different about him in game 5 was how much he was looking for his shot, and how aggressive he was to get to the basket. Right from the get-go, Lebron put his foot on the gas pedal and he did not slow down one bit. In the second quarter, he had a stretch where you could see him attacking the basket every trip down the floor, ending up in easy layups and a strong Laker run. Lebron finished with 16 points in the first half, and 14 points in the second quarter alone.
The Lakers had a lackluster 3rd quarter as they let the Nuggets back into the game, resulting in only a 3 point lead going into the 4th and final quarter. But down the final stretch, Lebron put the team on his back and just took over the game. He scored 15 of his 38 points in the last quarter, hitting jumper after jumper in the last couple minutes, and ultimately he finished off the series.
Without a doubt, Lebron got some high praise from the Laker faithful, and even his own Laker teammates and coaches following his takeover late in the game and overall masterpiece in game 5.
Danny Green said that:
“He’s the greatest player in the goddamn world.”
Fellow all-star and All-NBA first team member, Anthony Davis added:
“In the fourth quarter, he told us it was his time. He just took over. Everybody kind of got out of the way and let him be him.”
Even head coach Frank Vogel had nothing left to do but just commend Lebron for what he did on the court saying:
“I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a guy take over the fourth quarter of a game in person, possession after possession after possession.”
Through this performance, and how he has been playing the entire postseason, Lebron James showed everyone that even in his 17th year in the league, he still has not slowed down and he still has a lot left in his tank. This marks the 10th NBA Finals in his remarkable career, putting him in a deadlock with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for 3rd most all-time in NBA history. Lebron will also be making more Finals appearances than 27 out of the 30 franchises in the entire NBA. Only the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and the Los Angeles Lakers have more Finals appearances than Lebron.
Though they have been impressive thus far, Lebron and the Lakers know the job isn’t finished as the Western Conference Champs are now awaiting their Finals opponent, which will either be the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics. Either way, the Lakers will certainly do all they can to win four more games en route to their 17th title in franchise history.
With ‘Finals Lebron’ back to lead the way, the 2020 Finals will be a highly anticipated battle, and the whole Laker Nation can’t wait for it to begin.
Featured Image: Nathaniel S. Butler/nba.com