LeBron explains 'desperate mindset' Lakers need to close out Dubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Los Angeles Lakers hold a three-games-to-one advantage over the Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals, but LeBron James knows closing out the defending NBA champions in Game 5 won't be easy.
"As hard as this game was, it’s going to be even harder," James told TNT's Chris Haynes after LA's 104-101 victory over Golden State on Monday at Crypto.com Arena. "We understand that. We know that, and if we don’t come in with a desperate mindset like they’re going to come in [with], then they’re going to blow us out that arena."
The Warriors are no strangers to being down 3-1 in the NBA playoffs, and they're banking on that experience to take this series one game at a time and hopefully advance to the Western Conference finals.
"You definitely use it as confidence we can figure this out," Warriors star Steph Curry told reporters after Monday's game. "Obviously, you just focus on winning Game 5 and take it from there, you can't fast forward to the end. But we have a lot of confidence in our ability to take the good things from tonight and protect our home court. That's all we can do right now. Got to maintain the positivity with how tough this was tonight. Long way to go."
Closing out an NBA team in the postseason -- especially one of Golden State's championship caliber -- is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in sports. And the Warriors will be at home on the Chase Center floor on Wednesday in Game 5, giving them an assumed leg up on the Lakers.
James is hoping his team can avoid a repeat of Game 5 against the Memphis Grizzlies in their first-round playoff series last month, when Los Angeles had a chance to eliminate Ja Morant and Co. but instead saw the series extend to six games. He knows it will be a tough task, but James is hopeful the Lakers learned a valuable lesson.
"We’ve been in a 3-1 situation in round one versus Memphis, so we’ve got to learn from that," James told Haynes. "We’re not saying that Memphis is Golden State -- both teams are well-coached, both teams are great -- but we also know that we’re dealing with the defending champions, so it’s time to get rest now."
The Lakers better hope they're well-rested and ready to go Wednesday, because James certainly was right about one thing: The Warriors will come out with a vengeance.