So, when James woke from his game-day nap - feeling like "this was one of the biggest games of my career" - he sent a group text message with a simple challenge to his Lakers teammates: Game 4 was a must-win bout, even with L.A. leading the series 2-1 at the time.
"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," James told reporters after the Lakers' 102-96 win Tuesday. "After the (Heat's) Game 3 win, that confidence they had, the confidence they still have even after tonight's loss. They are just a gritty, so damn-well-coached team."
James lived up to his end of the bargain, finishing with a team-high 28 points with 12 rebounds and eight assists in 39 minutes of action. His star running-mate, Anthony Davis, added 22 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks in 42 minutes, second only to Heat star Jimmy Butler in playing time.
"Guys were already on edge coming into tonight," Davis said. "We see the message from our leader saying this is a must-win, and he just left it at that. Guys knew coming in that we need to bring our A game."
With a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Lakers have a chance to clinch the 2020 championship as early as Friday. Tip-off for Game 5 is slated for 9 p.m. ET.