LeBron James has been here many, many times. This is his 10th trip to the NBA Finals. He has won three championships. He has lost six. He's been swept and he's won in seven. There are not many scenarios he has not seen on this stage so when he texts his team a simple message - "Must win" - it's worth listening.
For most players, this kind of story would be worth a serious eye roll. Heck, it's still a little corny. Of course it feels like a must win game. They all should. But in this case, the possibility of a 2-2 series with Bam Adebayo getting healthy and Goran Dragic maybe being available this weekend and self-doubt creeping in for all the Lakers who have never been here before certainly makes a good case for Game 4 being super important.
I don't have the exact record, but I'm guessing the team that wins Game 4 generally goes on to win the series. The important thing to remember is that the job is not done. And you know who knows that better than anyone? LeBron James. So when he says he's not going to sleep until the series is over, he might actually be serious?
A more cynical person might think it's ridiculous that someone would go days without sleep during the NBA Finals, but this must feel like a combination of Christmas Eve and the night before a big test. And if LeBron, at the height of his powers, a win away from another title, feels that way, how well do you think Adebayo is sleeping after letting opportunities slip away? How about Dragic hoping to return from a painful injury? Jimmy Butler after he became human again and sees that coffee machine staring at him all night? Anthony Davis thinking about redefining his entire career? Guys suddenly know they might have just four more days until they're coming home.
If all things are equal. If everyone is sleepless. Who are you betting on? The guy who has dealt with those sleepless nights. The guy who know Game 4 was must win. LeBron has lived these cliches so he can say them.