LeBron James’ pre-game text message sets tone for Los Angeles Lakers as NBA Game 4 Finals win

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla .– LeBron James woke up from his pre-game nap on Tuesday and included two words in a text at the Los Angeles Lakers panel chat that said it all: Must win.“We see our leader’s message,” said Anthony Davis after the Lakers’ game 102-96 victory over the Miami Heat took them 3-1 to the NBA Finals. “And he left it there. ”

The result leaves Los Angeles with just one championship win, which would be the organization’s 17th – tying the Boston Celtics for most of all time – and James’ fourth, spread across three different franchises.

James led the Lakers with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists and overcame six turnovers – five of which were committed before half-time – to secure the game.

“Personally, I felt it was one of the biggest games of my career,” said James, 35, the league’s all-time playoff leader. “I just wanted to convey that message to my teammates, the type of zone I was in, the type of moment and the kind of team we were playing against. …

“It’s just a serious team, so well trained. I feel like if we’re going to be a championship ball club, if we really want to be a championship team, we have to have the same courage and the same. It was my state of mind. I’m still there. ”

As much as James illustrated this approach by playing the entire fourth quarter and totaling 11 points (on a 7 for 7 shot from the foul line), 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the last frame, it was the job. Davis’ defense on Jimmy Butler. that made it a winnable game on the stretch in the first place.

After a 40-point triple double in which he shot 14 for 20 in a win in Game 3, Butler stayed warm to start Game 4, scoring 11 points on a 5-for-5 shot in the first quarter. Butler scored just 11 points the rest of the game, or 3 of 12 in the final three quarters, including 1 for 7 when Davis was guarding him, according to an ESPN Stats & Information study.

“We just wanted to make him look different, honestly,” said Davis, who finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks and helped Los Angeles beat Miami by 17 in the 42 minutes he was on. on the ground. “We asked Bron a lot of things. I just said to Bron, ‘I’m going to take him.’ ”

James – who touted Davis for Defensive Player of the Year throughout the season in the same way Davis endorsed James for MVP, only for the duo to finish second for the respective awards – praised of the great man.

“This guy can do it all defensively,” said James. “Keep the ball, keep the post, slide his feet with guards, challenge, can we do body with big. I mean, do I have to say more? ”

LA took a five-point lead in the fourth quarter, pushing it to nine with a Davis 3 with 39.5 seconds left before winning by six. The Lakers extended their record to 56-0 this season when they led after three quarters – staying ahead as the best team to protect the last leaders in league history. The Chicago Bulls under Michael Jordan in 1995-96, who were 78-1 (.987) to take the lead in the fourth, are second.

“I think the fourth quarter is obviously the time to win,” said James. “You have 12 minutes to wrap up defensively with the lead, sort of hold that lead, and then you have to run offensively. Obviously, I didn’t know the statistic coming up tonight. But for us, it’s just the state of mind. … If we win the quarter, we win the game. ”

And if the Lakers win Game 5 on Friday (9 p.m. ET, ABC), they win the title. It doesn’t look like there will be much nap for James by then.

“At this point in the season, I don’t care about the rest. I really don’t care. I don’t care about sleep, ”James said. “I don’t care about resting because I can rest in a week, at most, if that happens. I could rest for a month in a row, which I won’t because of who I am, you know that.

“But I can rest then. I can sleep eight hours and get up and eat and then go back to sleep if I want.

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