LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers stormed into the NBA Finals after a 117-107 win over the Denver Nuggets Saturday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
The Nuggets – comeback kings of this season’s playoff – made a valiant effort, but were unable to overcome a third straight 3-1 series deficit.
James finished with a triple-double of 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
The three-time NBA champ was charged all night long, bullying his way to the rim and to the free throw line to consistently get his team high-percentage baskets.
He absolutely took over down the stretch, scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter to send the Nuggets packing. His co-star Anthony Davis battled first-half foul trouble, but put up 27 points on 8-for-16 shooting as the Lakers thwarted Denver’s second-half comeback bid.
The Nuggets were unable to get into a rhythm in the first half due to more foul trouble for Nikola Jokic and an injury to Jamal Murray, which appeared to make him less than 100 percent.
Keeping to their form this season, the Nuggets cut the Lakers’ 10-point halftime lead to just three to start the fourth quarter, but they were unable to reproduce the heroics that got them to this point. Jokic and Jerami Grant led the team with 20 points apiece, with Murray chipping in 19 on 7-for-17 shooting.
The Lakers now seek the franchise’s 17th NBA title, and will meet the winner of the Eastern Conference finals series between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.