In yr 19 at 37 years outdated, LeBron James continues to hold the load for the Los Angeles Lakers, delivering one other monster efficiency towards the Sacramento Kings.
In 36:28 minutes, he led the best way with 31 factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, taking up within the fourth quarter to assist the Lakers win 122-114.
Regardless of the already heavy miles on his legs, LeBron is presently second within the NBA in minutes per recreation (36.9), behind solely Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who’s a complete decade youthful than him. Of the highest 10, solely three different gamers are north of 30 with Kevin Durant tied with LeBron, adopted by James Harden (fifth) and Damian Lillard (sixth).
Los Angeles has been shorthanded this season with Anthony Davis’ prolonged damage absence, compounded by a number of gamers out and in of the lineup as a result of well being and security protocols, which means the Lakers have needed to depend on LeBron of late greater than they might have appreciated, nonetheless, he says he is greater than ready for the additional court docket time, with this season essentially the most minutes he is averaged in a Laker uniform.
“I’ve all the time put myself able the place I can play heavy minutes and do no matter it takes to assist this group win,” he mentioned post-game
“Coach has achieved a great job, both by way of Frank [Vogel] or when Fiz [David Fizdale] was the interim coach on the time, simply making an attempt to look at my minutes at occasions, however we additionally must win ball video games as effectively.”
Throughout his profession, LeBron has averaged 37+ minutes in 12 full seasons, his final coming in 2016-17.
“I really feel fairly good, I do not feel like that I am taking part in 37 minutes a recreation and it is also not the file for me, I had a season the place I averaged 42.5,” he mentioned in reference to his 2005-06 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers at age 21.
After getting out to a gradual begin, taking pictures 6-of-16 from the sector by way of the primary three quarters, LeBron locked in down the stretch, taking pictures 6-of-10 within the remaining quarter as he picked aside the Kings defence, delivering some selection phrases in direction of their bench after a giant bucket with below a minute remaining.
LeBron scored 14 of his 31 within the fourth quarter alone, however he had some assist from operating mate Malik Monk because the duo mixed for 25 of the Lakers’ 37 fourth-quarter factors.
LeBron fourth-quarter shotchart
Monk completed with 24 factors, whereas Talen Horton-Tucker added 19 factors off the bench and Dwight Howard 14 factors and 14 rebounds in simply 21 minutes on court docket.
Russell Westbrook had 19 factors, seven rebounds and two assists, recording his first recreation with out a turnover since March, 2016 because the Lakers solely turned the ball over a season-low 5 occasions as a group.
“That is the rationale we received the sport,” LeBron mentioned. “We received the sport as a result of we didn’t flip the ball over.
“We weren’t taking pictures the ball effectively in any respect and since we did not flip the ball over, we caught fireplace.”
Tonight’s recreation continues a dominant stretch for LeBron, who has averaged 34.3 factors, 9.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists on 55.4 p.c from the sector and 39.5 p.c from the 3-point line throughout his previous 9 video games.
With the win, the Lakers have now received three video games in a row and 4 of their previous 5 as they transfer above .500 (20-19). They appear to proceed their win streak on Friday after they host the Atlanta Hawks at Crypto.com Area.