LeBron James’ pregame text to the rest of his Lakers teammates may have been all they needed to secure the Game 4 win last night against the Miami Heat. According to ESPN, James’ text only consisted of two words.
“Must win,” the Los Angeles star sent to his squad’s group messages on Tuesday afternoon.
After the win, the Lakers are one victory away from securing the organizations 17th NBA championship, which would tie the Boston Celtics record for most titles in league history, according to USA Today.
James’ goal in sending the messages to his teammates was for them to take the upcoming game as serious as he was.
“I felt like for me, personally, this was one of the biggest games of my career. 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,” he said in a post-game interview.
The 35-year-old knew if Los Angeles wanted to bounce back, everyone on the squad would have to rise to the occasion. Although he began the competition with a rather slow start, committing five turnovers in the first half, eventually James led by example, especially in the fourth quarter. The All-Star played the entire time while racking up 11 points, five rebounds, and two assists to push his club to victory. He ended up leading with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists in the books.
James’ teammate Anthony Davis expressed that although the message was short, it got the point across that everyone needed to step up compared to Sunday night’s loss.
“We see the message from our leader and he just left it at that,” he said.
While James took care of business on the offensive end, Davis provided the defensive security Los Angeles needed in order to contain the Heat’s star Jimmy Butler, who dominated in the last competition and scored an outstanding 40 points.
Davis was able to limit his scoring last night, holding Butler to only 22. The approach to match him with the Miami standout was different compared to prior games. Yet, the 27-year-old felt it was a necessary change to take some of the weight off James’ shoulders, who had been tasked with containing Butler in the past.
“We just wanted to give him a different look, honestly. We were asking a lot out of Bron. I just told Bron, ‘I’ll take him,'” he stated.
The club’s next game is scheduled for Friday, October 9.