The Lakers advanced to their first NBA Finals in a decade after LeBron James’ triple-double secured a series victory over the Nuggets.
Not since winning their last championship in 2010 had the storied franchise reached the NBA showpiece. James helped end that drought as the top-seeded Lakers topped the Nuggets 117-107 on Saturday to seal a 4-1 series victory in the Western Conference finals.
James posted 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists — his 27th career playoff triple-double — to lead the Lakers at Walt Disney World Resort outside Orlando, Fla., where he will contest his 10th NBA Finals. He is the fourth player in history to get to 10 Finals.
James is eyeing a fourth championship ring, with the Heat or Celtics up next in the Finals.
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All-Star teammate Anthony Davis contributed 27 points for the Lakers, who will make their 32nd Finals appearance.
The third-seeded Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason en route to the conference finals, but they were unable to produce another comeback despite 20 points apiece from Nikola Jokic and Jerami Grant in Game 5. Jamal Murray was limited to just 19 points.
Miami and Boston will meet in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, with the Heat leading 3-2.