Good morning everybody happy Friday and welcome back to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we bring you up to speed on everything that went down from the night before in the Association. It was another massive Game 4 on the schedule, this time in the Western Conference and for the billionth time this playoffs we had a game live up to the hype. As always if you got busy, maybe you were watching football or something and missed the action, here's what happened.
Los Angeles Lakers (3-1) 114 vs Denver Nuggets (1-3) 108
Well, I think we can all agree that the Denver Nuggets have the Lakers right where they want them. Down 3-1 to the naked eye, but really up 3-1 to anyone who has been paying attention to their playoff run. In fact, they probably prefer to be in this position when you really think about it. Now the series really starts. Now their talent is truly activated.
We all heard about how the Lakers complained to the league about LeBron's FTs, and before the game I said expect around 15. Well, LeBron had 14 for the game. So did AD. In the fourth quarter, with the Lakers only holding onto a 3 point lead and the FTA pretty much even at 18-14, the Lakers took 17 FTA in the fourth quarter. AD took 8, LeBron 7, and that consisted of 13 of their 27 points in that quarter. Sadly, the Nuggets only got to the line 9 times. There's your ballgame folks. I'm sure it's frustrating to Nuggets fans, but this is the game. This is what LeBron and his teams do. You had to know it was going to come and just like in Game 1, the Lakers got their 1 quarter of massive FTA and fouls and that was that.
Their formula also didn't really change, LeBron and AD carried most of the load. combined for 60 points and both were extremely efficient
they once again didn't shoot it all that well from three as a team, but they had guys who made them when they had to
and you have to give credit to the effort of Dwight Howard and the impact he had on the offensive glass. Dude had 6 OREB and 12 points which is exactly what he is out there to do
The Lakers also took care of the basketball which was big for them considering their carelessness played a huge role in their Game 3 loss. Playoff Rondo continues to be an absolute force off the bench for this team and while part of me absolutely hates it, I'll always have love for Playoff Rondo. Guy is a beast when the lights get bright
So now the Lakers are a win away from the NBA Finals. Sadly though, this series just got a whole lot tougher for them because nobody has been able to put the final nail in the coffin of these Nuggets.
For DEN, you're frustrated no doubt. Lose game one due to 24 FTA in a quarter, then you lose Game 2 on a buzzer beater, then in Game 4 you had to deal with that fourth quarter. That's tough. Jamal Murray did everything he could, the man is on another planet right now offensively
But he needed his best bud to also show up in a big way. Unfortunately, Jokic was sort of quiet with just 16 points in his 35 minutes
Guys like Jerami Grant, MPJ, and Monte Morris all showed up as secondary scorers and were efficient from the floor, hell the Nuggets took care of the ball too with only 11 TOs. So what went wrong?
Their defense. It has been their achilles heel all year and they couldn't find a way to defend without fouling. Back to back 27 point quarters for the Lakers in the second half where they allowed LA to shoot 38% and take 25 FTA, it was a bad time for the Nuggets to be that poor on one end and then shoot only 42% on the other. A tough 2-7 in the second half for Jokic, and when you are in a close game against LA when you know they can either score or get a foul every trip, you basically need to be perfect to pull it out.
The good news is, this team has been here before. Some might say there is no way you can win three straight series down 1-3, but we also said there was no way you could win two straight series down 1-3. If anyone can do it, it's these Nuggets. There is no quit in them. Granted the Lakers are a different animal, and chances are they are going to get another friendly whistle in Game 5, but I;m not counting the Nuggets out just yet. They aren't dead to me. In fact, they've never been more alive. If they win Game 5, the talk will get louder and the pressure will build. I hope it happens.
And that's it! You are now all caught up with everything that went down last night in the NBA. We're back tonight with MIA/BOS as the Heat look to punch their ticket to the Finals, and I for one am already a nervous wreck. Have a great Friday!