Los Angeles — LeBron James He continues to redefine the standard for what a star can do at such a late stage in his career.
James, 37, scored 50 points for the second time in his past three games in lifting the Lakers to a much-needed 122-109 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday.
The win came six days after James scored 56 goals against the Golden State Warriors, which was also a win for Los Angeles. Point, they are 0-6 in the rest of their games and still only ninth in the Western Conference at 29-37.
In a season when the Lakers didn’t give much reason for fans to pay for tickets to see them, James received “Best Player! Best Player!” Hymn from crowd sale at Crypto.com Arena. He said he appreciated the reception, considering the number of times booing was heard in the building.
“Listen, believers in Laker know when to play bad basketball and they know when to play basketball well. They have a right to get whatever response they want,” James said. “They’ve seen so many great bands, so many great individuals. … For me, being a part of this franchise, I feel like I’m just trying to give them a chance to have unforgettable nights too.
“Try to give them something to be happy about, give them something to feel good about every night, I know it’s not been as great as they would like it to be this year, but you get the little wins when they come.”
Los Angeles seemed headed for another loss, down nine times early in the third quarter, when James got very hot. Halfway through the period, in a period of less than two minutes of play, he scored 12 consecutive points for the Lakers to give them control of the game and send the crowd into a frenzy.
He did this in several ways, beginning with a hop from an 18-foot drop, followed by a single throw, and then a 3 out of 31 feet. There was also a shot of a floating bank that caught it twice before completely flicking it off the glass, and finally a quick dunk as he tried to pull the tip off its screws.
“The thing that sets me apart is that the league has never seen a player at this point in his career doing what he’s doing,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “I think that’s the most important thing to admit. It’s just incredible the level he’s playing at.”
James finished the match shooting 18-for-25 from the field (72%), including 6 of 9 on 3 throws, and 8 of 8 from the free throw line.
And he did it in a match when he started in the center against the 7-foot-3 Washington team christaps porsingis Guard the middle of the opening tip.
“Maybe after all these years playing in the middle was the best way to take advantage of it,” Vogel said. “Because that’s where he was doing it, by playing at the center position [Anthony Davis] Outside. Do whatever the team needs to win matches. And just an incredible, epic performance from LJ.”
This was James’s 14th 50-point game, with a draw Rick Barry For the sixth time ever, his teams have now won the last 12 games when he’s gone for 50 or more. To underscore Fogel’s point about James doing this at the age of 37 and in his 19th season, consider that James became the first player in NBA history over the age of 30 to score 50 in consecutive home games.
He has now scored 20 or more points in 30 consecutive games, taking his scoring average from 29.3 points per game to 29.7 points per game to outshine Philadelphia. Joel Embiid First place in the race for the league title.
“I always try to stay present,” James said when asked what he’s been aggressively working with recently. “And when the gameday is here, I’m here five hours before the game and I get ready – I prepare myself individually, prepare for what I need to do to help this team win, prepare for whatever I can do in my power Try to help this team be as great as possible that night So, that’s what goes into it.”
James’ night overshadowed the main storyline that will go into Friday’s game – the Lakers’ foreign trade with the Wizards to acquire it. Russell Westbrook vs Kyle KuzmaAnd the Kentavius Caldwell Pop and other parts.
Westbrook had five points in a 2-for-11 shooting with nine assists and one spin. Vogel pulled it off 8 minutes ago, 37 seconds left and kept him on the bench the rest of the way. Los Angeles is now 3-1 this season when Vogel trailed Westbrook.
Vogel went with the closing lineup for James, monk owner (21 points), Taleen Horton Tucker (15 points), Austin Reeves (12 points) and Stanley Johnson who scored 29-20 runs from the time Westbrook was substituted until the last bell.
Meanwhile, Kuzma edged Washington with 23 points while Caldwell Pope scored four, to advance 1 for 6 from the ground.
“It was just about having these guys out there to win,” Vogel said of the closing squad. “It wasn’t more than that.”
Horton Tucker received the assist when James hit 50 on the 3-index with 1:41 remaining and let out a sweet festive shriek at his old teammate Kuzma to enjoy the moment.
“This is the second time he’s scored 50 goals this year and I was, ‘Damn it.’ I looked up and said, ‘Damn, he got 50!” Horton Tucker said. “When he was 47, I knew he was going to get 50.” And that’s why I tried to get it. So, just seeing this, like, it’s motivation, I always say.”
James, who scored 19 points in the third quarter and 33 total in the second half, said his hot shot reminded him of the 1990s video game NBA Jam, in which players were “on fire” after three consecutive shots. , making their subsequent shots go from almost anywhere on the field.
“I managed to hit a hot streak at some point,” James said. “I just tried to stay in that area for as long as possible and hit a couple.”