NBA Playoffs: Jokic set for 1st NBA Finals, Heat try to clinch East crown

Nikola Jokic is about to say hello to the NBA Finals.

LeBron James is hinting that he might say good-bye to the NBA.

The stars were stars in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, when Jokic and the Denver Nuggets finished off a sweep of James and the Los Angeles Lakers to make the title series for the first time.

Jokic averaged a triple-double for his second consecutive series — and broke Wilt Chamberlain’s single-season playoff record with his eighth triple-double of this postseason run.

James finished his season with 40 points, an impressive display by the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. But after the game, James cast some doubt on whether he’ll return for a 21st season.

“We’ll see what happens going forward,” James said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”


Miami can win the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night. The Heat lead that title series over the Boston Celtics 3-0, and are one win from being the second No. 8 seed in history to make the NBA Finals.

If Game 5 of Celtics-Heat is necessary, it would be Thursday in Boston.


— The Eastern Conference finals are on TNT.

— All games are scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

— Team broadcasters will no longer air games. Everything after the first round is exclusive to national windows and not available for local telecasts.

— The NBA Finals on ABC begin June 1. That will not change even if Miami finishes off a sweep of the Celtics.


Denver went 2-0 against Miami this season and 1-1 against Boston.

Both of the Heat-Nuggets game ended up close: Denver won by five in Miami on Dec. 30, and by four at home on Feb. 13.

The Celtics-Nuggets games were both decided by larger margins: Boston won at home by 19 on Nov. 11, Denver won at home by 12 on Jan. 1.


— A Miami sweep would make NBA history. There’s never been a season where both conference finals ended in 4-0 sweeps; it happened in 1957 when what was then called the division finals immediately preceded the title series. That year, Boston beat Syracuse 3-0 and St. Louis beat Minneapolis 3-0.

— Denver has won six consecutive playoff games. It’s the Nuggets’ longest postseason winning streak since joining the NBA; they won five in a row in the 2009 playoffs.

— The Nuggets tied a franchise-low by only six players taking a shot attempt in Game 4 against the Lakers. The only other game — regular season or playoffs — in which a Denver team had no more than six players attempt a shot was March 13, 1988 against Indiana.

— LeBron James played more than 47 minutes in a non-overtime game for the first time since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2018. He’s also the first player, age 38 or older, to ever play that much in a game that was decided in regulation.

— James’ teams are now 182-100 in his playoff appearances.


“I speak for 17 players in that locker room and the entire organization: We are not satisfied.” — Denver coach Michael Malone, after the Nuggets won the Western Conference title.


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