The Los Angeles Lakers are one win from bursting out of the NBA’s bubble in Florida and heading home, thanks to their 102-96 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night. LeBron James led the way as per usual with 28 points, 12 rebounds — and one big assist. It happened Tuesday afternoon, when “King James” sent a group text message to his teammates following his pregame nap.
“We see the message from our leader,” Anthony Davis said in the postgame press conference. “And he just left it at that.”
What were the magical words James used that motivated, inspired and powered his teammates to get TED Talk–type results? “Must Win.”
That was it. Not 100% accurate, since a loss would have just tied the series and not eliminated the Lakers, but powerful in its simplicity. “I felt like for me, personally, this was one of the biggest games of my career,” James said. “I just wanted to relay that message to my teammates, the type of zone I was in, the type of moment it was and the kind of team we were playing against.”
Back to James’s nocturnal habits, which were a big part of the postgame narrative. James believes rest is important, but just not right now, with the Lakers one win from clinching. If that makes sense.
“At this point in the season, I don’t care about rest. I really don’t. I don’t care about sleep,” James told the reporters covering the series. “I don’t care about resting because I can rest in a week, max, if it happens to go there. I could rest for a month straight, which I won’t do because of who I am; you guys know that. But I can rest then. I can sleep eight hours and get up and eat and then go right back to sleep if I want to.”
You know who is going to need to rest up? The person in charge of buying and stocking the champagne in the Lakers’ locker room this Friday night. It looks like he’ll be needing it.