Lakers one win from championship after holding off Heat in Game 4 of NBA Finals

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Listless and uninspired, the Los Angeles Lakers meandered through another sloppy first half in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

They discovered a purpose in the second half offensively and defensively to beat the Miami Heat 102-96 on Tuesday for a 3-1 series lead.

LeBron James scored nine points in the final 6:08 and 20 of his 28 points in the second half when the Lakers needed an offensive spark. He also had 12 rebounds and eight assists. Anthony Davis had 22 points and nine rebounds, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 15 points and five assists.

The Lakers are on the verge of their first championship since 2010 and their 17th overall, which would tie them with the Boston Celtics for most in NBA history. James is also one victory from his fourth championship and third with three teams.

Game 5 is Friday (9 p.m. ET, ABC).

Hear from LeBron postgame as he runs through the Game 4 win and looks ahead to Game 5 Friday at 9pm/et on ABC! #NBAFinalspic.twitter.com/06s78rDavK

As difficult as it will be for Miami to stop James and the Lakers, beating the Heat won’t be easy for Los Angeles. Even shorthanded, the Heat are well-coached and have enough talent to extend the series.

While guard Goran Dragic (torn left plantar fascia) was not cleared to play after missing Games 2 and 3, starting center Bam Adebayo returned for the first time since straining his neck in Game 1. He provided an offensive and defensive boost with 15 points and seven rebounds.

This win was no easy feat for the Lakers, with the game tied at 83 with 6:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. James, who grew tired of Jae Crowder’s hard fouls, went to work late in the game. Davis and Caldwell-Pope were also big in the fourth quarter.

LeBron James scored a game-high 28 points for the Lakers. (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles received solid shooting from key players and won the 3-point game. Lakers starters were a combined 26-for-53 from the field, and the team made 14 3s to Miami’s 10.

Defensively, Los Angeles limited Heat guard Jimmy Butler. Following a 40-point triple-double with 13 assists in Game 3, he had a much more manageable scoring game from the Lakers’ standpoint: 22 points.

The Lakers put Davis on Butler, making it more difficult for him to drive into the lane and find his spots. Still, Butler was still one assist shy of a triple-double with 10 rebounds and nine dimes.

"We've just got to be better on the defensive end," Laker coach Frank Vogel said before the game. "We haven't been ourselves the last two games. I thought the last game was a little bit better than Game 2, but to win in the NBA Finals, we have to be better. I'm expecting a better defensive effort tonight."

Miami shot 42.7% from the field and 34.4% on 3s.

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

Source: Read Full Article