Update — The Lakers and James were swept by the Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference Finals. This is the third time he has been swept in the postseason, and the first time it has happened to him in a Lakers uniform.
The Los Angeles Lakers entered Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Monday against the Denver Nuggets with a 3-0 deficit to overcome. No team has ever successfully battled back from this hole in the playoffs, so the Nuggets are likely to advance from this series. The big thing now is to avoid a sweep, something LeBron James has been excellent at doing in his NBA career.
James has only been swept twice in the playoffs during his 20-year career, and both instances have occurred when he was playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The first sweep came at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 NBA Finals, when a young James went up against a Spurs team at the peak of its powers. The rising superstar forward had little chance against Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, especially with a limited supporting cast.
The second instance came in 2018, when James once again faced a gigantic foe. This time, it was a modern super-team in the Golden State Warriors with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. This was the fourth iteration of Warriors-Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, with Golden State winning two of the three. The Warriors easily swept the Cavaliers, who were without Kyrie Irving at this point.
In short, this would be the earliest sweep James has experienced in his career if the Lakers do not pull off a win in Game 4 against the Nuggets. The King is unlikely to advance to his 11th NBA Finals this season, but he will at least attempt to avoid his third career playoff sweep.