LOS ANGELES – If 2022 happens for the Los Angeles Lakers like LeBron James’ first game since he turned 37, LA could have big things in store.
James scored a season-high 43 points in just 29 minutes in the Lakers’ 139-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, dominating the action early on as he scored the game’s first five points in the 46 first seconds and continued to pour it. Of the.
James shot 16-26 from the floor (5-10 in a 3-point range) and added 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks as he became the oldest player since Michael Jordan in 2003 to set up a 40-point, 10-rebound stat line.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, James became the oldest player with 40 points in under 30 minutes of play as well as the oldest with at least 40 points and 14 rebounds.
“I’m literally trying to prepare my mind, body and soul for how I can stay young in a young man’s game,” said James, who said his birthday celebration on Thursday centered on watching movies on the couch with your family, drinking wine and tequila and being in bed at 10:30 p.m.
“Sometimes you have to remind people that you can still do what you are doing at a high level, and I have just been blessed, very blessed and kept on working,” he said. “Because that’s what it all comes down to. It’s about putting the work in place and everything else will happen on its own.
James then took to Instagram to revel in his first game at 37.
The Lakers, now 18-19 and No. 7 in the Western Conference, have their work cut out for the second half of the season. After wasting a friendly schedule filled with home games and fewer opponents over the past two months, things should get a lot tougher.
But if James can continue the teardrop he’s been on, you can’t count on LA.
Friday was his seventh straight game with 30 or more points, his longest such streak since 2013, and his 28.0 points per game average this season is his best since playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009- 10. James is the oldest player in NBA history with seven straight 30-point games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
As LA slid down the standings in December, going 6-8, it has been an incredible month for James. He became the oldest player in league history averaging 30 points per game in one month, overtaking Jordan, who was 34 when he scored 30.7 points per game in January 1998. C It was the third time in his career that he had 10 30-point games in a calendar month, but it was the first time he had done so since 2006.
And Friday was an incredible capper, as he did all of his damage in just 29 minutes of playing time, marking the first time in his career that he has scored 40 or more while playing under 30 minutes. It was only the second time in his career that he has scored 40 while not having any turnovers. He did it for the Miami Heat on March 18, 2014, while playing against Cleveland.
James is averaging 36 points on 58% total shots and 42% over a 3-point range over the past seven games, adding 11 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game while taking over in the absence Anthony Davis since he fell with an MCL sprain in his left knee. He is only the sixth player in league history to reach that stat line in seven games, joining Jordan, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only others to do so.
“I’m not the type to go out and see if I can pull a bunch of punches,” James said. “I want to be efficient every night or every time I play. So since the streak I had, in terms of my score, I have also been extremely efficient. the score. It’s just who I am as a basketball player. “
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James continues to give LA hope even though it’s been a tough season so far.
“He is a perfect example of going out and playing to the point of exhaustion,” Vogel said, adding that James had requested a replacement because he had released so much energy at one point. “This is how we want our band to play, this is how we should play the game, so play the game until you drop and he shows it.
“And then his energy in the cinema sessions and all our work outside of the game is like mental energy. He brings [that to] our team, and the positivity … There is so much noise around our team and negativity and he doesn’t let that, let it filter through our group. “