The Lakers left, Denver completes a sweep and is in the NBA Finals

Nikola Jokic had 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists, and the Denver Nuggets advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in team history on Monday night, sweeping the Western Conference finals with a win of 113-111 over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jamal Murray scored 25 points for the top-seeded Nuggets, who topped LeBron James’ 31 first-half points and a 15-point halftime deficit with a tenacious finish in Game 4 to win their first conference title. in his 47 seasons in the NBA.

James finished with 40 points after the highest-scoring half of the postseason of his career, but even the leading scorer in NBA history couldn’t stop the deep, dynamic Nuggets from posting their sixth straight victory overall.

James missed two tying shots in the final seconds, and Aaron Gordon appeared to block his shot at the buzzer.

Jokic earned his eighth triple-double of the playoffs in the third quarter, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s 1967 NBA record for triple-double in a single postseason. The Serbian big man also led the Nuggets’ tenacious defensive effort despite getting his fifth foul midway through the fourth quarter, and when Denver needed a big basket, Jokic delivered it too.

The Lakers erased a seven-point deficit and tied it with five minutes to go, but Jokic hit a missed 25-foot 3-pointer. After Anthony Davis hit two game-tying free throws with 1:11 to play, Jokic plowed past Davis for the tiebreaking layup.

James then missed a rare fallaway jumper with 26 seconds remaining. After Murray missed a changeup to give the Lakers one last chance, James’ drive at the buzzer was thwarted by Gordon, who scored 22 points.

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The Nuggets will cap off their excellent season under coach Michael Malone by playing for their first NBA championship. Denver eliminated the Lakers for the first time in eight playoff games and swept a playoff series for the first time, likely earning several days off before the finals.

Unless the Boston Celtics make basketball history by rallying from their 3-0 deficit in the Eastern Finals, Denver will host the eighth-seeded Miami Heat to open the NBA Finals, starting June 1.

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