Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets. (Harry How/Getty Images)
The Nuggets overcame a double-digit deficit to complete the sweep over the Lakers, sending LeBron James and company home.
For awhile there it looked like the Lakers would avoid the sweep and extend the Western Conference Finals. They held a 15-point lead at halftime over the Nuggets and LeBron James was playing out of his mind.
However, Nikola Jokic and Denver soon proved why they held a 3-0 lead in the series in the first place. They erased the deficit in the third quarter and outbattled the Lakers in the fourth to punch a ticket to their first ever NBA Finals appearance with a 113-111 victory.
James’ 40 points may have been impressive, but they weren’t enough in the end to keep LA alive as both of his late shots to tie the game fell short.
Here’s the best of NBA Twitter on a night for the Nuggets to celebrate and the Lakers to wonder where things went wrong…
NBA Twitter reacts to Nuggets sweeping the LakersLeBron James in the 2nd half:
4/12 (33%) from the field
0/3 (0%) from 3pt
Another sweep 🧹
— Dr. Andre (@OnBallSteph) May 23, 2023
LeBron got bopped in the face by AG, hit on the knee by Jokic, played 48 minutes and scored 40 points on one good foot. He eliminated the talkative Griz & the defending champs. He went out on his shield to the eventual champs. Bravo.
— Wildes (@kevinwildes) May 23, 2023
Nuggets only won because the writers are on strike smh
— Plathanos 🐝 🇩🇴 (@SavinTheBees) May 23, 2023
The @nuggets just authored a history book in one night.
First-ever playoff series win over the Lakers.
First playoff sweep in franchise history.
First trip to the freaking NBA Finals.
And so it was written… pic.twitter.com/zGa5tuJgnZ
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) May 23, 2023
James finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two steals, shooting 15-of-25 from the floor. He led all players with 48 minutes on the floor. His running mate, Anthony Davis, had 21 points, 14 rebounds, one assists, one steal and three blocks.
Jokic went off with 30 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and three blocks. The Nuggets got 25 points out of Jamal Murray and 22 from Aaron Gordon.
Denver now has a long layoff before they’re take the court in the NBA Finals. Game 1 isn’t until June 1.
All that’s left is to figure out their opposition, though it’s pretty clear who that’ll be short of something crazy happening in the Eastern Conference. The Heat have a 3-0 lead over the Celtics in a series that could end as early as Tuesday night with Game 4 in Miami.