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Lakers hold off Nuggets, take 3-1 series lead

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Anthony Davis and LeBron James combined for 60 points as the top seeded Los Angeles Lakers seized control of their Western Conference finals series with a 114-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

James finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists and Davis had 34 points as Lakers held on to beat the Nuggets and take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

Game five is Saturday in Orlando. The Lakers have wrapped up both their previous series in five games.

Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 32 points and eight assists, while Jerami Grant finished with 17 for Denver. Serbia’s Nikola Jokic was held in check most of the game and finished with a disappointing 16 points.

James took it upon himself to guard Murray.

“He’s is one of the hottest guys in the bubble,” said James. “He’s very shifty to guard. I just use my length and athleticism, high hand him and meet him at the basket.”

Denver has dug another big hole in these playoffs and if they are going to advance to the NBA finals they will have to come back from a 3-1 deficit for the third straight series.

Denver lost game four in each of their first two series against Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers before making a pair of historic comebacks.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 13 points and Rajon Rondo tallied 11 points for the Lakers, who bounced back from a loss in game three in which they rebounded poorly by outscoring the Nuggets 25-6 in second chance points on Thursday. Rondo also had seven assists.

The Lakers took the lead 10-9 on a 17-foot basket by Davis with 8:16 left in the first quarter and led the close contest the rest of the way. (AFP)