The Los Angeles Lakers have defeated the Denver Nuggets 117-107 to advance to their first NBA Finals in 10 years.

Despite being overwhelming favourites to win the series, the Lakers were made to earn their victory by a valiant Nuggets team who showed plenty of the fight and came back from 3-1 down in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Unfortunately for Denver, a powerhouse performance from LeBron James ultimately proved too tough a task to overcome.

James finished with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists as he became just the fourth player in history to reach 10 NBA Finals.

Nikola Jokic and Jerami Grant led the way for Denver with 20 points each, while Jamal Murray finished with 19 points and eight assists.

The Lakers looked like cruising to victory early as they took a 10-point lead into the half-time break.

But Denver fought back in the third-quarter to close the gap to just three, until the veteran presence of James paid dividends down the stretch to seal the series for the Lakers in five games.

Los Angeles will meet the winner of the Eastern Conference finals series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.