For the first time since 2010, The L.A. Lakers will be on basketball's biggest stage. On Saturday night, the Lakers ended the possibility of yet another Denver Nuggets' comeback. LeBron James dominated down the stretch to lead LA to a 117-107 victory.
The King delivers
NBA fans have come to expect greatness from James every time he steps onto the hardwood. Those expectations only increase once the playoffs begin. In a Western Conference Finals unlike any other in history, James took over the clincher.
James walked away with his 27th career postseason triple-double, only 3 behind Magic Johnson for most in league history. He filled the stat sheet like only he can, pouring in a game-high 38 while snagging 16 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists.
Not to mention, he all but crushed Denver's spirit with dagger after dagger in the 4th quarter. James tallied 23 of LA's final 27 points. He is back to the Finals for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons. Or for context, basically, every year since I was in 7th grade.
A fine supporting cast
While James was the story, other Lakers found ways to help secure the win. While Anthony Davis was neutralized on the boards over the past couple of games, he finished with 27 points in 35 minutes.
Guards Alex Caruso, Danny Green, and Rajon Rondo all left their fingerprints on the contest. If the Lakers want to capture their 12th title in Los Angles, their supporting players will have to be great, not just good.
No shame in losing
Hats off to the Denver Nuggets. They played the Lakers very tough in this series. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic were phenomenal throughout the postseason.
If not for James' dominance, the Nuggets would have extended their impressive streak of staving off elimination to 7. While moral victories are not such a concept in professional sports, Denver should be excited about how well they performed in all 3 of their postseason series.
Celtics, your turn
Now that that LA is officially in the Finals, the pressure is on the Celtics to reignite one of the greatest rivalries in sports. Boston is still alive against the Miami Heat after a game 5 victory. If Boston can pull off the 3-1 comeback, the NBA will have their desired matchup.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones