Los Angeles Lakers won Game 4 of their series against the Denver Nuggets, 114-108, reaching just one step away from the NBA Finals.
Though as in previous games, the Nuggets’ players and staff weren’t happy with officiating, that was pretty controversial at some point. Paul Millsap would get two fouls in the span of nine seconds in the opening period, then get two more after the halftime, eliminating himself from the game and allowing the Lakers a massive advantage in the paint.
The LAL went to the foul line 35 times, while the Nuggets had just 23 shots from the same place. Lakers’ two best players Anthony Davis and LeBron James, had 14 free throws each, while on the other side, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic settled with 10 combined.
We saw LeBron guarding Jamal Murray in the fourth period, and while doing a pretty well job, the refs looked the other way on a couple of situations, which were obvious fouls. One such came at 105-102 for the Lakers with three minutes to go, when LeBron hit Murray on his wrist, dring a layup, while the officials saw that as a block.
“I’m going to have to go through the proper channels like they did to get some more free throws,” said Michael Malone after the game, alluding to the Lakers’ complaints that LeBron doesn’t get too many free throws in this series.
The purple and gold were constantly ahead, with the Nuggets coming back after them but without success. Each time they came down to a one-possession game LeBron and Davis would pull them down. The Lakers’ leading duo scored more than half of the team’s points and was simply unstoppable tonight.
blatantly fouls* https://t.co/gg8xOGKiWK
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) September 25, 2020
Davis had a team-high 34 points with five boards, three steals, and assists each, going for 10-of-15 from the field and 13-of-14 from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, LBJ scored 26 points and was close to another triple-double with nine assists and eight rebounds, 7-of-18 FG, and 11-of-14 FT.
“We played great down the stretch, we played great overall,” AD said. “Still, some things that we can fix if we want to put this thing away.”
Dwight Howard did a big job today with 12 points and 11 boards, six of them in the attacks, missing just one of his six FG attempts. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 buckets, Kuzma 11. Rajon Rondo was again very good, coming off the bench with 11 points,
With the Nuggets, Jamal Murray led the way, dropping 32 with 8 assists, 12-of-20 from the floor. Jerami Grant had 18, while Nikola Jokic had a subpar game scoring 16 points, with seven boards and four assists.
Michael Porter Jr. and Monte Morris had solid roles off the bench. Porter Jr. scored 13 points, adding 8 boards, while Morris had one point fewer.
Malone was unhappy with the way his team played defense, stating that they wouldn’t lose because of the officiating, but a mediocre effort on the defensive side of the ball.
“This is the Western Conference finals, Game 4. If you can’t help us on the defensive end, maybe you shouldn’t be on the floor,” he added.
Game 5 is this Saturday.
With the Nuggets being down 3-1, many still believe that they might have a chance to bounce back and make yet another incredible comeback, which would see them eliminating the Lakers as they did with the Jazz and the Clippers.
However, the chances for that are pretty slim because Frank Vogel’s side knows how dangerous Denver is in this position, and they will have a different approach to the next contest, no doubt.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.