James, Davis put Lakers on brink as Miami downed

Orlando (AFP) –


LeBron James scored 28 points as the Los Angeles Lakers moved to within one win of a 17th NBA championship on Tuesday with a 102-96 victory over the Miami Heat.

Humbled by Miami in game three on Sunday, James and the Lakers came roaring back in a hard-fought defensive battle that was finely balanced until Los Angeles pulled away in the closing minutes.

The win leaves the Lakers 3-1 up in the best-of-seven series, meaning they can clinch the championship with victory in game five in Orlando on Friday.

James started slowly but clicked in the second half to lead the scoring while providing eight assists and hauling down 12 rebounds.

Anthony Davis meanwhile finished with 22 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in with a vital 15 point contribution.

Caldwell-Pope's tally included a three-pointer and a layup in the closing stages that put the Lakers seven points ahead with two minutes remaining.

Davis then drained only his second three-pointer of the night with 39.5 seconds left on the clock to give the Lakers a 100-91 lead and effectively seal the contest.

Butler, the 40-point hero of Miami's win on Sunday, was restricted to 22 points with rookie Tyler Herro adding 21.

Bam Adebayo, returning from a neck injury after missing the previous two games, finished with 15 points.