Despite making many of the same mistakes that they made in Game 3, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to escape Game 4 with a win on Tuesday, beating the Miami Heat 102-96 after a huge fourth quarter. The Lakers now lead the series 3-1.
For the second consecutive games, turnovers were what plagued the Lakers in the first half, and LeBron James was the center of those problems once again. James had five of the Lakers’ turnovers in the first half. The Lakers ended the game with 15 turnovers, which was four more than the Heat.
Fortunately, James was able to clean it up in the second half, as he only turned the ball over one more time. He also started to take over the game offensively in the third quarter, scoring more points in the third than he did in the entire first half. James finished with 28 points, and the Lakers needed every one of them on Tuesday night.
It didn’t take Bam Adebayo long to shake off the rust in his first game in almost a week, and the Heat saw the impact of his return on both ends of the floor. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler was able to build on his strong Game 3, but the Lakers did a better job of containing him in Game 4, in part because Anthony Davis took on the challenge of guarding Butler.
Both teams made crucial adjustments, and as a basketball fan, it was a joy to watch these teams pick each other apart and scrap for a full 48 minutes. However, there could only be one winner, and the Lakers, thanks to a few timely shots from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo — followed by a dagger from Davis — were able to leave the game with a huge, possibly series-shifting W.
The Lakers will have an opportunity to wrap up the series on Friday. If the Lakers win Game 5 it will be the fourth series they’ve won in five games this postseason. 20 games would be the fewest number of wins it’s taken a James-led team to win a championship.
This team will have two days off to rest and adjust before they try to make that happen. The job’s not finished, but they’re only one game away now.