In 12 months 19 at 37 years previous, LeBron James continues to hold the load for the Los Angeles Lakers, delivering one other monster efficiency in opposition to 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.
Despite the already heavy miles on his legs, LeBron is at the moment second within the NBA in minutes per recreation (36.9), behind solely Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who’s an entire 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 consequence of well being and security protocols, that means the Lakers have needed to depend on LeBron of late greater than they’d have preferred, nevertheless, he says he’s greater than ready for the additional court docket time, with this season probably the most minutes he’s averaged in a Laker uniform.
“I’ve at all times put myself able the place I can play heavy minutes and do no matter it takes to assist this workforce win,” he stated post-game
“Coach has achieved a very good job, both by means of Frank [Vogel] or when Fiz [David Fizdale] was the interim coach on the time, simply attempting to look at my minutes at occasions, however we additionally have to win ball video games as nicely.”
Across his profession, LeBron has averaged 37+ minutes in 12 full seasons, his final coming in 2016-17.
“I feel pretty good, I do not feel like that I’m playing 37 minutes a recreation and it is also not the document for me, I had a season the place I averaged 42.5,” he stated in reference to his 2005-06 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers at age 21.
After getting out to a sluggish begin, taking pictures 6-of-16 from the sector by means 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 alternative 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 working mate Malik Monk because the duo mixed for 25 of the Lakers’ 37 fourth-quarter factors.
LeBron fourth-quarter shotchart
(NBA Getty Images)
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 workforce.
“That’s the rationale we gained the sport,” LeBron stated. “We gained the sport as a result of we didn’t flip the ball over.
“We weren’t taking pictures the ball nicely in any respect and since we did not flip the ball over, we caught hearth.”
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 gained three video games in a row and 4 of their previous 5 as they transfer above .500 (20-19). They look to proceed their win streak on Friday after they host the Atlanta Hawks at Crypto.com Arena.