NBA

Nuggets the 'best team' LeBron James has faced with Lakers

By Sports Desk May 23, 2023

LeBron James paid tribute to the Denver Nuggets after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept in the Western Conference finals.

The 38-year-old said he and teammate Anthony Davis are in agreement that Denver was the best team they had faced while playing together with the Lakers.

Despite 40 points from James, 31 of which came before halftime for his highest scoring total in a half in a playoff game in his illustrious career, the Lakers lost a close Game 4 contest.

Denver prevailed 113-111 with Nikola Jokic having 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists and Jamal Murray adding 25 points as they clinched an historic 4-0 series win.

The Nuggets claimed their first Western Conference title in the team’s 47-year existence and will face either the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics for the league championship

"Me and AD were just talking in the locker room and we came to the consensus this is one of the best teams, if not the best team, we’ve played together for all four years," James said about the Nuggets.

"Just well-orchestrated, well put together. They have scoring. They have shooting. They have playmaking. They have smarts. They have length. They have depth. 

"And one thing about their team, when you have a guy like Jokic, who as big as he is but also as cerebral as he is, you can’t really make many mistakes versus a guy like that."

James, who was 15-of-25 shooting, prompted a wave of coverage after Game 4 by suggesting he was considering basketball retirement.

After saying he had a lot to think about in the post-game news conference, he was asked to clarify his comments by ESPN.

Asked what he would be thinking about, James replied: "If I want to continue to play. I got to think about it.

"It was a very challenging season for me, for our ballclub, and obviously we know whatever went on early on [the Lakers started 2-10 start]. It was cool, a pretty cool ride.

"We'll see what happens going forward. I don't know. I don't like to say it's a successful year, because I don't play for anything besides winning championships. I don't get a kick out of making a conference [finals] appearance.

"I've done it a lot, and it's not fun to me to not be able to be a part of getting to the [NBA] Finals."

Davis had 21 points for the Lakers and all five starters reached double figures, but a seemingly comfortable 73-58 halftime lead swiftly evaporated as Denver outscored them 28-10 to start the second half.

Jokic’s eighth triple-double of this year’s playoffs broke a tie he shared with Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain for the most in a single postseason.

Denver will face either Miami or Boston in the Finals. The eighth-seeded Heat own a 3-0 lead in the East finals ahead of Game 4 on Tuesday.

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