Nuggets react after Lakers’ LeBron James complaints paid off big time

The Nuggets may have the Lakers right where they want them — down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals — but a little help from the league wouldn’t hurt either.

The Lakers went to the NBA to complain that LeBron James wasn’t getting enough foul calls, according to the Los Angeles Times. Coach Frank Vogel said before Game 4 that they were “dealing with the fouls through the proper channels with the league.” Coincidence or not, James went on to shoot 14 free throws Thursday night — his second-most attempts in the playoffs — in the Lakers’ 114-108 win.

That didn’t go unnoticed by Nuggets coach Mike Malone.

“I’m going to have to go through the proper channels like they did to get some more free throws,” Malone quipped.

Malone went on to say that “this game had nothing to do with the [whistle].” The Nuggets got out-rebounded 51-39, letting the Lakers grab 12 offensive rebounds and score 25 second-chance points.

But the Lakers also out-attempted the Nuggets at the free-throw line 35-23. James went 11-for-14 at the stripe after going a combined 7-for-10 through the first three games of the series. He also provided some tight defense on Jamal Murray late, but only had two fouls called against him for the game.

“I think late in the game Jamal Murray attacked the basket a few times where it appeared to be contact,” Malone told reporters. “We’ll watch the film and send our clips in. We’ll reach out to the NBA and kind of make our points noted. … The NBA does a great job of listening. You hope that next game maybe some of those fouls are called.”

The Nuggets have trailed 3-1 in their first two series of the playoffs, only to come back and win in seven games both times against the Jazz and Clippers. But now they may be playing with fire one too many times against James and the Lakers.

“Yeah, LeBron is going to go get his. But we just have to look ahead and play through it,” Murray said. “Like I said, we’re a young team. We’re the younger team, youngest team, whatever we are. Look at where we’re at. We’re going to have to earn their respect if we’re going to want to prevail.”

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