A day after quietly celebrating his 37th birthday at home with his family, LeBron James put on an age-defying performance.
James became the oldest player in NBA history to play a game with at least 40 points and 14 rebounds, scoring a record 43 points on Friday night (Saturday New Zealand time) as the Los Angeles Lakers won a 139-106 victory over Portland. Trail Blazers.
According to Sports radar, the oldest player to play a 40-14 game was Larry Bird, who was 35 when he had 49 points and 14 boards for the Boston Celtics in 1992 (who coincidentally also came against the Trail Blazers) .
“I don’t feel like I’ve been in the league for 19 years. When I remember it daily I feel it sometimes, “James said after his 67th 40-point game of his career and his sixth in four seasons with the Lakers.” Sometimes you have to remind people that you can still do it. what you can. do at a high level.
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James was 16 of 26 on the field and scored five 3-pointers in a game the Lakers led throughout.
“If that’s what our team needs to win, I’m okay with that,” said James, who in the last seven games – including Friday – is averaging 36 points and has scored 57, 8 percent of his shots from the field. “I’m not the type to go out and see if I can do a bunch of punches. The streak I was on with my score, I was effective. I’m proud of it as a player.
His streak of seven consecutive games is no anomaly: he has done it four other times. But this is the first time since he was with the Miami Heat in February 2013. James’ longest stretch is 10 with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of the 2005-06 season.
The Lakers led 69-54 at the halftime on 27 points from James, who traveled coast-to-coast for a dunk to give Los Angeles a 53-37 advantage midway through the second quarter. He passed the 40-point mark on 3 at 27 feet with 8:25 left to give the Lakers a 109-84 lead.
Los Angeles’ biggest lead was 35 in the last minute of the game.
“It’s just LeBron James playing at a higher level than what’s going on around him,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “While [Anthony Davis] is out, he intends to do whatever he can to rack up some wins and play at a very high level.
Malik Monk scored 18 points, Carmelo Anthony added 16 points and Russell Westbrook (15 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists) recorded his ninth triple-double this season for the Lakers, who had lost six of their last seven games.
Portland’s Ben McLemore came off the bench to tie his season high with 28 points in his first comeback after erasing the league’s health and safety protocols. Damian Lillard added 18 points to the Trail Blazers, who have lost four straight games and 11 of their last 13.
“I don’t think we played with enough strength. They dictated the start, ”said Portland assistant coach Scott Brooks, who leads the team while head coach Chauncey Billups is in the league’s COVID-19 protocols. “They were attacking from both sides of the field and we were back on our heels. We can’t do that against good teams. We gave them too much respect.