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Lakers live to fight another day after 119-108 victory against Nuggets in Game 4 of NBA Playoffs, snaps 11-game losing streak to Denver

The energy at Crypto.com Arena on Saturday night was palpable. You could cut the anxiety and tension with a knife. Highlights of the 2004 Boston Red Sox and 2014 Los Angeles Kings played in the arena to provide hope for a packed house.

The commonality between those two teams is that they both overcame 0-3 playoff deficits en route to winning a championship.

For the second straight season, the Los Angeles Lakers were in danger of being swept out of the NBA Playoffs at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, but this time they flipped the script.

LeBron James scored 30 points, Anthony Davis had 25 points with 23 rebounds, and the Lakers staved off elimination with a thrilling 119-108 win in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the defending champion Nuggets.

The victory means the Lakers will live to fight another day, and snapped an 11-game losing streak to the reigning champions that lasted 498 total days.

The Lakers entered the fourth quarter clinging to an 11-point lead but managed to withstand wave after wave of the Nuggets attempt to rally. LeBron James closed out the game for Los Angeles, scoring 14 huge fourth-quarter points.

The Lakers never trailed in the game. For the fourth consecutive game they out-scored the Nuggets in the first quarter and took a lead into the locker room at halftime.

However, through the first three games of the series, the third quarter has been the Lakers’ Achilles heel. Whether it’s lack of adjustments, energy, or simply exhaustion, the Lakers had been out-scored in the third period of the first three games by a total of 91 to 60.

Thankfully, that narrative changed in Game 4. The Lakers came out of the locker room with energy, effort, and desperation. Facing elimination, they took every Denver punch, and instead of getting knocked out—they punched back!

Each and every time the Nuggets came down and hit a big shot, or went on a run, the Lakers responded right back. They maintained their double-digit lead into the final frame despite losing the third quarter again, 32-30.

For the first time all series, the Lakers bent, but didn’t break. That resiliency and fighter’s spirit now needs to travel with them back to the Mile High state, where oxygen can come at a premium at high altitudes, especially late in games.

James finished with 30 points in the win, but more importantly, he shut down Aaron Gordon on the defensive end, holding the forward to just seven points, after he scored a team-high 29 in Game 3 on Thursday.

Even more importantly for the Lakers, the role players showed up in a big way in Game 4.

Austin Reaves was aggressive from the jump, scoring 21 big points. D’Angelo Russell once again bounced back from a bad performance in Game 3, also scoring 21 points.

Thanks in large part to Russell’s four three-pointers, the Lakers improved from beyond the arc in Game 4. After shooting a paltry 5-for-27 (18 percent) in Game 3, the Lake Show went 8-for-25 (32 percent) in Game 4.

Another key factor for the purple and gold was the offensive glass. After losing that battle in each of the first three games, they leveled the score in Game 4, with Denver grabbing just one more offensive rebound.

The Lakers also dominated the points in the paint 72-52, and had more second-chance points 14-to-5.

Despite staring elimination straight in the face entering Game 4, the Lakers knew they only needed to win one to turn the tide in the series.

“We just tried to get one game and go from there,” said Davis before Game 4. “We know we’ve lost 11 straight. We can’t focus on that.”

LeBron echoed a similar sentiment.

“As long as you have lie, then you always have belief,” said James.

Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with another triple-double scoring 33 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists in the loss.

Michael Porter Jr. had 27 points and Jamal Murray finished with 22.

Denver still leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.

The series now shifts back to Denver where Game 5 will tipoff on Tuesday night at Ball Arena.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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