Facing elimination in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James mounted a historic first half comeback against the Denver Nuggets at Crypto.com Arena on Monday. But his Herculean efforts fell short in the final seconds of the game.
The Nuggets rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to defeat the Lakers 113-111 and complete a 4-game sweep to advance to their first NBA Finals in team franchise history.
The pressure got to James who lost his usual calm composure in a clash with Nuggets star Aaron Gordon in the second quarter. James shoved Gordon with his forearm and pushed him backwards. Both James and Gordon received technical fouls, but Nuggets fans demanded a flagrant foul against James.
James, 38, finished with 40 points, including a personal record 31 points in the first half. But he missed two potential game-tying shots in the final minute that would have sent the game into overtime.
Trailing by 2 points with 4 seconds left, James put his head down and charged the basket. But he ran into star point guard Jamal Murray (right) who tied him up while Gordon (left) blocked his last-second shot.
Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic scored his 8th triple-double with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists. He passed Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain for the most triple-doubles in a playoff series. Chamberlain’s record of 7 triple-doubles stood for 56 years. Joki? was awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy after the game.
The NBA Finals is scheduled for June 1 in Denver. The No. 1-seeded Nuggets await the winner of the Eastern Conference series.
The struggling Boston Celtics face elimination against the red hot Miami Heat in Game 4 in Miami tonight, May 23.
Watch the Lakers vs Nuggets Game 4 highlights below.