In the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Playoffs (PO), there have been a total of 149 times that a team has lost the first three games of a best-of-seven series. However, none of them managed to pull off the upset. Can LeBron James (39) of the Los Angeles (LA) Lakers save his team from elimination?
Game 4 of the 2022-23 NBA PO Western Conference Finals (best-of-seven) will take place at 9:30 a.m. ET on Feb. 23 at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets. Denver leads the series 3-0. LA needs one more loss to be eliminated from the PO.
The momentum has already shifted in Denver’s favor. Denver dominated LA in Games 1-3, with the duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray averaging a combined 62 points. The Nuggets are trying to reach their first Finals in franchise history. Denver’s best finish is the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets had lost to LA in each of the previous three Western Conference Finals. They are on the verge of dethroning LA for the fourth time.
LA is led by James averaging 23.7 points and Anthony Davis 28.7 points. However, the lack of support from his teammates puts the spotlight on the “ace” James. But at 39 years old, James may be reaching his physical limits. He’s already shown lapses in defensive concentration in the final minutes of Games 1 and 2 at home in Denver.
As his stamina has waned, his shots have gotten shorter and shorter, and his three-point percentage has taken a hit. For this entire PO series, James is shooting 24.2% from three-point range. That’s a huge drop from his career PO average of 33%. If you limit it to the Western Conference Finals against Denver, he’s shooting just 15.8%. Despite taking more than five per game, his success rate has bottomed out. In effect, his offensive options are gone 메이저놀이터.
Of course, James remained confident. After Game 3, when the local media asked him, “You’ve made so much history, do you think you can do it again?” he said, “Absolutely. It’s just a matter of heart,” he replied confidently. In his 20th season, James, a four-time NBA Finals champion and four-time Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), will be looking to make history.
Meanwhile, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Nov. 22, the lower-seeded Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics in a big way, 128-102. Miami took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and secured a spot in the NBA Finals.