LeBron James emerges in 2nd half to push Lakers to brink of NBA title against Heat


Anthony Davis punched his chest in celebration. LeBron James let out a huge scream.

The Los Angeles Lakers are on the cusp of what they want most — the franchise’s first championship in 10 years.

Davis’ 3-pointer with 39.5 seconds left was the backbreaker, James finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 102-96 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

The Lakers lead 3-1 and can win the title when the series resumes Friday.

WATCH | Lakers down Heat in Game 4:

Los Angeles Lakers defeat Miami Heat 102-96, lead NBA Finals 3-1. 0:52

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 15 and Danny Green added 10 for the Lakers, who didn’t trail at any point in the final 20-plus minutes. Davis’ 3-pointer in the final minute made it 100-91, starting the celebration that took the Lakers all night to earn.

“Felt like a finals game,” James said. “Felt like both teams were desperate … and that’s what it’s all about.”

Jimmy Butler scored 22 points for Miami, which got 21 from Tyler Herro, 17 from Duncan Robinson and 15 from Bam Adebayo — who returned after missing two games with a neck injury.

James’ 3-pointer with 8:18 left in the third put the Lakers up 55-54 and set the tone for the way the rest of the night was going to go; L.A. leading, Miami chasing.

The Lakers were up by seven with 2:27 left in the third after a 3-pointer by Davis — the 71-64 margin representing the biggest by either side to that point. Miami scored the next six to get within one, yet couldn’t get back on top, a trend that persisted into the fourth.

Herro made a 3 early in the fourth to get Miami within one again; the Heat promptly fouled Markieff Morris on a 3-point try, and he made all three shots. Butler scored inside to tie the game with 6:27 left; James scored the next five points himself, including a three-point play where he ended up flat on his back after spinning the ball perfectly off the glass for a score on a drive while taking contact.

A bounce here, a bounce there. Those were the differences late, and the Lakers made their own breaks.

Butler had a corner 3 that would have given Miami the lead rim out with 3:05 left; Caldwell-Pope made a corner 3 at the other end seven seconds later and the Lakers were up 93-88. Miami then turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation; Caldwell-Pope scored on a drive for a seven-point lead.

“The job is not done,” James said.

Not yet. But they’re on the brink.

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