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.
HOW TO WATCH
— 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.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
— 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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