The Championship looks like the Lakers to lose from here after a hard-fought 102-96 victory over the Heat on Wednesday. Like game 3, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the favourites, with the Heat, boosted by the return of Bam Adebayo, putting up stiff competition throughout the match.
Ultimately, when it came to crunch time, the experience of the Lakers made the difference with some key personnel making clutch plays to seal the win. LA are now just one win away from being crowned champions of arguably the most memorable season of all time.
NBA Finals Game 4 Preview & Tips
Los Angeles Lakers
On the back of yet another strong Lebron James performance, the Lakers fought off a desperate Miami team to now be within one win of claiming the NBA title. There were some early struggles in the match with Anthony Davis only notching 8 points in the first half and again, Los Angeles turning the ball over consistently throughout the first two quarters.
Luckily for the Lakers, they were able to count on their bench to keep them in touch as Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green all shot the ball well to keep the pressure on the Heat. Leading by just 2 points at half time, LA’s ‘big two’ switched gears in the second half with both Davis (22pts 9reb) and James (28pts 12reb 8ast) finishing the match strongly producing some clutch plays in the closing minutes.
There was plenty of aggression throughout from both sides but in the end the experience and game plan from the Lakers made the difference. While not as emphatic as the first two games of the series, the Lakers fought hard for the win and a 3-1 deficit makes it extremely difficult for the Heat to come back from. With a 2-game cushion and all the momentum, I feel the Lakers may wrap up the series here and now. Lebron James will look to continue his elite-level play and stamp his case for finals MVP to help his team close out the series.
James Over 28.5 Points
Miami have lost no admirers this Finals series again putting up a strong fight in a tough game 4 loss. The Heat were boosted by the inclusion of Bam Adebayo and they came out of the blocks firing early. Lead by another huge performance from Jimmy Butler, Miami were in the match all the way up until the final minutes. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalise on some good looks and could not come up with any defensive stops in crunch time.
There were some solid performances throughout the team which will give Erik Spoelstra and his side confidence heading into game 5. Tyler Herro found his range again putting up 21 points and 7 rebounds while Duncan Robinson (17pts) and Bam Adebayo (15pts 7reb) all contributed to keep the Heat within striking distance. Once again Butler, who was 1 assist shy of another triple-double tried his heart out to lift his team to another underdog win. It wasn’t to be however, with Miami’s offence and playmaking beginning to look impacted without Goran Dragic.
The Heat will once again be sweating on the fitness of Dragic for game 5 as they face the possibility of being sent home. It is now getting desperate and they’ll be fired up and looking to bring this series to 3-2.
Adebayo Over 15.5 Points
The end of the NBA season is drawing closer as the Lakers chase just one win to close out the finals and claim the championship. We all know the fighting spirit the Heat will bring, and this won’t be a walkover at all.
Miami will need to draw on their game 3 victory as inspiration and make some big plays on defence while LA just need to look after the ball and it looks their championship to lose.