Sunday, 27 September 2020 10:54

 

Photo Credit:Getty Images.

LeBron James helped the Los Angeles Lakers reach the NBA Finals for the first time in 10 years with a 117-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

It gave them a 4-1 win in the best-of-seven series.

They were led by a triple-double from James, who scored 16 of his 38 points in the third quarter and added 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

The 35-year-old has now reached the NBA Finals for the 10th time - this is the first time with the Lakers.

It is the 32nd time the Lakers have reached the championship series and they will face the winners of the Eastern Conference final between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, with the Heat leading 3-2 going into game six on Monday.

The Lakers' last NBA Finals success, which was against the Celtics, was led by Kobe Bryant, and James again paid tribute to the star who died in a helicopter crash in January.

"Every time you put on the purple and gold you think about his legacy, you think about him and what he meant to this franchise for 20-plus years," he said.

"We're going to enjoy it tonight, but we understand we've got bigger fish to fry. We understand there's a bigger goal.

"I'm extremely proud to be a part of this franchise getting back to where it belongs, and that's playing for championships."

Lakers coach Frank Vogel praised James' display against the Nuggets, who had come 3-1 down twice already in the play-offs.

"I don't know if I've ever witnessed a guy take over a game the way he did in the fourth quarter tonight in person," he said. "It was remarkable."

There were also plaudits from James' former team-mate Dwyane Wade and from Lakers legend Earvin Magic Johnson, who won five NBA titles in the 1980s.

James' team-mate Anthony Davis, who scored 27 points in the series-clinching win, was celebrating reaching the Finals for the first time in his first season in Los Angeles, after his move from New Orleans.

"It feels good. It's good to get something like this accomplished with this group of guys," he said.

"We battled through a lot this year, starting with the beginning of the season. We know the job's not done. It's a great feeling, but we got four more to win for the ultimate goal."