After a whirlwind seven months that saw them start 2-10 and be given a 0.3 percent chance of making the playoffs by stat geeks, only to make the playoffs and reach the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers’ season had come down to one game.
They were down 3-0 to a Denver Nuggets team that had been together far longer than they had, and their task was to, at the very least, maintain a shred of their dignity by winning Game 4 at home.
LeBron James responded with a phenomenal first half: 31 points on 11-of-13 overall shooting, 4-of-4 from 3-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. In fact, he played all but the final four seconds of the half.
The Lakers led 73-58 at intermission, and it looked like they were well on their way to getting on the board in the series.
But James was spent, and although he had nine points, six rebounds and five assists in the second half, he managed to shoot just 4-of-12 from the field. His final shot attempt just before the buzzer, which would’ve tied the game, was smothered, and that was the season for L.A.
Still, James’ 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the game showed that he is willing to do what it takes to at least give his team a great shot at winning.