NBA

LeBron asked to guard Murray during 'winning time' for the Lakers

By Sports Desk September 25, 2020

LeBron James took on the responsibility of guarding Jamal Murray down the stretch because he knew it was "winning time" for the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4. 

With the Lakers holding a four-point lead with just over five minutes remaining in the final quarter, and Murray on 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting, James switched onto the Denver Nuggets guard. 

Murray was held to 0-for-2 shooting by the four-time NBA MVP, with his four points in the last five minutes coming from the free throw line. 

The Lakers consequently closed out a 114-108 victory to move 3-1 up in the Western Conference Finals. 

Asked why he put himself on Murray, James said: "I knew it was winning time, and Jamal had it going. The kid is special. He has an array of shots. Triple threat from the three, mid-range and also in the paint. 

"For me, it's just trusting my defensive keys. Trusting my study of film. Trusting personnel. And living with the results. I told my team-mates that I had him and everyone else can kind of stay at bay and stay home. 

"I was able to get a couple stops and we were able to rebound the basketball, which is the most important thing." 

James is averaging 34.4 minutes in the playoffs, which is the fewest of his career – his previous low was 38.2 with the Miami Heat in 2013-14. 

The 17-year veteran denied that having less time on court helped him stay fresh to guard Murray in the closing stages. 

"I don't reserve any energy. I'm on the floor, I give it all I've got. If I need a break, I ask for a break. Coach has done a good job of getting me out throughout the course of the game," said James. 

"I don't look at it as a reserve tank. I've got pretty good energy when I'm on the floor all the time. It's winning time and I don't have a chance or time to be feeling tired. 

"I'm tired now. That's when I'm tired, when it's zeros on the clock. That's when I'm tired. I'm not tired during the game."

Murray appreciated the respect the Lakers afforded him but felt the Nuggets, who have come back from 3-1 deficits to advance in the past two rounds, still should have found a way to win. 

He said: "I mean, they switched AD [Anthony Davis] on me to be on him, too. 

"Obviously, with LeBron I do the same stuff I do when I see [Alex] Caruso, when I see [Rajon] Rondo and KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope], and Kawhi [Leonard], Paul George and Pat Bev [Patrick Beverley]. 

"I mean, I do the same thing. Appreciate the respect, but we've got to win the game."

Related items

  • Lakers' Green expects LeBron to rest if NBA season starts in December Lakers' Green expects LeBron to rest if NBA season starts in December

    Danny Green expects superstar Los Angeles Lakers team-mate LeBron James to rest if the 2020-21 NBA season gets underway on December 22.

    The NBA is reportedly planning for a 72-game regular-season schedule, which would begin prior to Christmas Day.

    James, 35, helped the Lakers to their first championship in 10 years after topping the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals inside the Orlando bubble amid the coronavirus pandemic earlier this month.

    Lakers guard Green, 33, commented on the league's plans for the upcoming campaign.

    "If we start in December, I think most guys [are like], 'I'm not going to be there,'" Green told The Ringer NBA Show podcast. "If I had to guess, because we have a lot of vets [veterans] on our team, it's not like we have a lot of young guys or rookies ... to have that quick of a restart, I wouldn't expect to see [LeBron] there.

    "I wouldn't expect to see him probably for the first month of the season. He'll probably be working out with us ... but I just don't expect guys to want to be there, or show up willingly.

    "I think at this moment, and it might be different in two weeks when guys are like, 'All right, I'm gonna get back in the gym, start working out.'

    "When we get back in the gym, it's not right to basketball. It's, 'All right, let me start getting into shape' -- lifting a little bit, start running around a little bit. Then I'll pick up a ball."

    James celebrated a fourth league title after posting his 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists against the Heat at Walt Disney World Resort, where the Lakers sealed a 4-2 series triumph.

    It was his first championship with the Lakers, having struggled for form and fitness during his maiden season in Los Angeles in 2018-19.

    James set the record for most postseason appearances with 260, while the veteran became the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, per Stats Perform.

    In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth Finals MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

    James is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

  • Nets playing for NBA championship, insists Nash Nets playing for NBA championship, insists Nash

    Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash said the franchise are "playing for a championship" as he prepares for his first season in charge.

    Nash has taken his first steps into senior coaching, appointed by the Nets to replace Kenny Atkinson, despite the Basketball Hall of Famer's lack of experience.

    The Nets have suffered back-to-back first-round exits in the NBA playoffs, while Brooklyn have not reached the NBA Finals since consecutive trips in 2002 and 2003, which were both unsuccessful.

    Nash will have superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at his disposal and the two-time MVP is aiming high in Brooklyn.

    "We're playing for a championship," Nash told season-ticket holders during a virtual event on Tuesday.

    "I don't want to say that anything less than a championship is not a success because you never know what happens in life, you never know the way the ball bounces. Fortune is a big part of winning an NBA championship.

  • El Clasico: How previous Barcelona bosses fared facing Real Madrid for the first time El Clasico: How previous Barcelona bosses fared facing Real Madrid for the first time

    Ronald Koeman gets his first taste of El Clasico from the dugout on Saturday, when Barcelona host Real Madrid.

    A favourite of Johan Cruyff's mighty 'Dream Team' of the early 1990s, the pressure is on Koeman the coach to get Barca back to winning trophies at home and in Europe after last season's miserable ending.

    He will have a chance to earn some sizeable brownie points against a Madrid side who are reeling from back-to-back defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, results that have placed much of the pre-game scrutiny on Koeman's opposite number, Zinedine Zidane.

    As the former Netherlands boss looks to end a two-game winless run for Barca in Spain's grandest fixture, we look at how his predecessors fared in their first Clasicos in LaLiga...

     

    PEP GUARDIOLA. BARCELONA 2-0 REAL MADRID. DECEMBER 13, 2008.

    Both dugouts featured coaches taking charge of teams in a Clasico for the first time and it was Guardiola who got the better of Madrid's Juande Ramos.

    Late goals from Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi earned Barcelona the victory as they moved 12 points clear of Madrid in the table too.

    That victory occurred during a 10-game winning streak in LaLiga and it was no surprise that Barca, who beat Madrid 6-2 later in the season, went on to win the title.

    TITO VILANOVA. BARCELONA 2-2 REAL MADRID. OCTOBER 7, 2012.

    The two clubs had already met in the Supercopa de Espana at the start of the season, Madrid winning on away goals after both teams had won a leg apiece.

    Their first league meeting of 2012-13 was all about Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi as both men scored twice in a 2-2 draw.

    Ronaldo scored for a record sixth successive Clasico to put Madrid ahead and, after Messi had netted a brace, Los Blancos' Portuguese star took his tally to 160 goals in 155 games since his 2009 move from Manchester United with an equaliser.

     

    GERARDO MARTINO. BARCELONA 2-1 REAL MADRID. OCTOBER 23, 2013.

    All eyes were on new recruits Neymar and Gareth Bale and it was the former who scored first to set Barca on their way.

    Alexis Sanchez would double that lead and though Jese Rodriguez pulled one back, Madrid fell to a defeat that left them six points behind Barcelona after just 10 league games.

    Both teams would finish the campaign on 87 points, a total not good enough to win the league as Atletico Madrid claimed 90 to be crowned champions.

    LUIS ENRIQUE. REAL MADRID 3-1 BARCELONA. OCTOBER 25, 2014.

    The Blaugrana had claimed 22 points from the first 24 available but they suffered defeat at Santiago Bernabeu in October 2014.

    Barca debutant Luis Suarez, back after a four-month ban for biting, set up Neymar for a fourth-minute opener but the home side stormed back.

    An in-form Ronaldo levelled from the spot with his 21st goal of the season before Pepe and Karim Benzema scored in the second half.

     

    ERNESTO VALVERDE. REAL MADRID 0-3 BARCELONA. DECEMBER 23, 2017.

    Los Blancos' awful start to the 2017-18 campaign continued as Barcelona moved 14 points clear of the defending champions with a comfortable win at the Bernabeu.

    Suarez, Messi and Arturo Vidal all scored while Madrid, who had beaten Barca in both Supercopa de Espana legs at the beginning of the campaign, had Dani Carvajal dismissed for handball.

    It was the first time Barcelona had won three successive league matches at the Bernabeu in Clasico history, and they went into the last match in our list with four straight victories at the ground.

     

    QUIQUE SETIEN, REAL MADRID 2-0 BARCELONA, MARCH 1, 2020.

    Setien, who took over from Valverde in January this year, had Barca on a four-game winning streak in LaLiga ahead of their trip to the capital.

    What followed was a miserable outing for the Catalans, as second-half goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz – in his first league appearance of the season – secured the win for the hosts.

    The result lifted Madrid to the top of the table and set them on course to win the title after the coronavirus-enforced break to the season. Setien was sacked in August, his final game in charge that humiliating 8-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.