LeBron James opens up on series loss to Nuggets: ‘F–k, we had so many opportunities’

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James reflected on the team’s first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets — which the iconic franchise lost in five games — and threw some praise Denver’s way.

The two game-winners in question were made by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray in Games 2 and 5 of the best-of-seven series.

The first of Murray’s two game-winners came with no time left on the clock for the Lakers to score and secured Denver a 101-99 victory as well as a commanding 2-0 series lead.

But for a while, it seemed as if Los Angeles was going to tie up the first-round series at one game apiece. The Lakers held a 20-point lead at one point in the third quarter of Game 2 but were outscored 32-20 in the fourth quarter.

Fast forward to Game 5, and Murray’s second monumental basket in the waning moments came with just seconds remaining in the contest to put the Nuggets up by a pair. The Lakers had 3.6 seconds remaining by the time Murray’s jumper hit the bottom of the net, but Los Angeles had no timeouts left, and Taurean Prince was forced to chuck up a prayer that didn’t drop.

Murray had far from the best playoff series of his career from an efficiency standpoint against the Lakers, considering his 23.6 points per game came on 40.0 percent shooting from the floor and 29.4 percent shooting from 3-point range. But when the Nuggets needed him to step up, he delivered with some memorable, clutch baskets.

Los Angeles didn’t suffer the exact same fate it did against the Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference Finals, at least, as the team didn’t get swept this year. In the Lakers’ only win of the first-round series, Game 4, James dropped 30 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block while shooting 14-of-23 from the field in the team’s 11-point victory.

But avoiding a sweep is a small consolation, and L.A. certainly has bigger goals moving forward.

Hopefully, James and the Lakers can learn from their disappointing first-round exit in the 2024 NBA Playoffs and will be motivated to redeem themselves in the playoffs next year, assuming the 39-year-old will remain with the team.

Share This Article
Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.