If Los Angeles actually becomes LeBron James’ town, it is going to be because there are far more nights such as Wednesday night, nights when he borrows his physicality and wisdom with such force he demolishes any thought there’s an active participant his equivalent.
What James did at the Lakers’ 126-117 success over the Portland Trail Blazers in Staples Center, just James can perform.
He had been everywhere. He did everything.
In his electrifying performance in a Lakers uniform, James completed with a season-high 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
“My jumper was quite comfy,” James stated. “My three-ball was feeling quite great ”
James made 13 of 19 shots, including five three-point shots.
Of the course James has imparted on his less-experienced teammates this year, none proved as significant as what he exhibited to them on this evening.
When he is needed to take over a match, he can.
That is what he did at a tour-de-force third quarter, where he scored 16 points and basically determined the outcome of the game.
“He certainly appeared to be a bit more aggressive,” trainer Luke Walton explained. “It is something we have talked about as the year has gone , always discovering that balance between being competitive… and letting a few of those other men still donate, playmake and shoot massive shots.”
The 12-minute interval included one special sequence that encapsulated his dominance, as he left a two-handed block onto a dunk attempt by Nik Stauskas on one end of the court and spun around Al-Farouq Aminu about the road into a layup on the other end.
“That play right there,” Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “That was simply striking.”
The cube was just one of three to get James and motivated the audience to jump to its feet.
There was no small achievement. After the game began, the stadium was packed but strangely silent, almost as though the audience did not know what to make of the Lakers team.
Before it was finished, the very same fans were serenading James with chants of”M-V-P!” They increased their telephones to capture the free throw which finished up a temporary stalemate with Wilt Chamberlain for fifth position on the all time scoring record. Plus they groaned when Lonzo Ball passed an open minded shot in the match which might have contributed James his 10th assist.
It was like Kobe Bryant was back to the court.
“As most of us know, he is a really unique basketball player,” Walton explained.
The success was critical for a young group discovering its own identity.
The Lakers have won six of the past seven matches, with just two of those victories coming from the second-place Trail .
The Lakers were down 33-26 after the initial quarter. They trailed by as many as 13 points in the next. However, with James earning four three-point shots and scoring 16 points in the first half, they went to the intermission with a 59-55 advantage. The Lakers restricted the Trail Blazers to 22 points in the second quarter. James was part of their defensive work.
“I believe Tyson [Chandler] has improved what we have achieved, but I believe more importantly, before Tyson’s coming we were beginning to find our market defensively, knowing how we will need to play, what is the secret to success for us and that is rebounding and restricting shots,” James stated.
The affirmation that James still has games such as this abandoned in his 33-year-old body ought to guarantee the Lakers because they make their way through the ups and downs of an 82-game year old. If they’re in trouble, they know James will be there.
“I attempt to do just a little bit of everything,” James stated. “That is exactly who I am. I’m a basketball player over anything. I really don’t have a situation. You may place me on the ground with anyone and I think I will make the ideal play for my mates and exude confidence in my teammates to accomplish this.”
The upcoming possible crisis is here, as Walton stated after the match Rajon Rondo will be sidelined for the upcoming few months due to a broken hand.
And James supplied a firsthand case of how improvements could be made. Before the match, he had been critical of his own free-throw shooting. He promised to perform better and did, making 13 of 15 free throws on this evening.
James continued to preach patience.
“I am not one to set a cap on the number of matches we will need to determine where we are,” James stated. “I believe we need to only try to get better each and each month. I think we are much better here in November than we had been in October. If we continue this trend, we’ll be where we would like to be following the New Year”
His performance gave the Lakers something more to build on. The success gave them yet another reason to trust.