LeBron James explodes on Darvin Ham during Lakers' Game 4 victory over the Nuggets


Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James appeared to explode on head coach Darvin Ham during the team’s 119-108 victory in Game 4 to avoid the sweep against the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers were up 15 points early in the fourth quarter. The ball went to Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. James knocked the ball away from him, and it went out of bounds. James insisted the ball didn’t go out of bounds off of him.

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LeBron James yells at Darvin Ham

Lakers forward LeBron James asks head coach Darvin Ham for a replay review after he was called for a foul, Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

He appeared to yell at Ham to challenge the play, but none was called. James was furious on the sideline as the Nuggets inbounded the ball.

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Cooler heads appeared to prevail and Los Angeles pulled off the win. James led Los Angeles with 30 points, five rebounds and four assists. Anthony Davis added 25 points and 23 rebounds.

“We’ve given ourselves another lifeline, and it’s a one-game series for us. Monday’s game is the most important game of the season for us, and we understand that,” James said.

LeBron James dunks

Lakers forward LeBron James dunks against the Denver Nuggets during the first-round playoff series game, Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored 33 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and doled out 14 assists. It was his 18th career triple-double and helped bring the lead down to seven with 1:25 left.

But Austin Reaves was able to bring it back to nine late.

“Of course we want to (start faster), but I learned in horse racing, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Jokic said. “We didn’t finish today really well, so hopefully we can do a better job. But yes, we want to be up and control the game, but it seems like that didn’t happen to us.”

LeBron James pokes the ball away

Lakers forward LeBron James knocks the ball from the hands of Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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Game 5 is set for Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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