LeBron James, the 38-year-old star of the Los Angeles Lakers, hit a layup despite being fouled by his first-round opponent, Dillon Brooks, versus the Memphis Grizzlies, with under 30 seconds left in overtime on Monday’s Game 4.
LeBron James’s first career 20-20 game
LeBron James showed off his muscle by flexing his biceps. He let forth an ear-splitting yell. Los Angeles took a 5-point lead and held on for a 117-111 victory and a 3-1 series lead, needing only one more win to become the first No. 7 seed to defeat a No. 2 seed following 2010’s San Antonio.
“I sensed like that play was right there,” LeBron James said after he had scored 22 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, dished out seven assists, blocked two shots, and turned the ball over only once. The remainder of the game had a bleak ending.
An immediate great performance by the 20-year veteran, and this is the image that will stick in fans’ minds forever.
With his first 20-20 line in 1,693 career games (including the regular season, play-in games, and playoffs), he became the oldest player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain in 1973 (age 36).
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LeBron James boasted, “I’ve done some pretty cool things in my career.” Never before have I had a pair of 20s. Okay, that’s neat, I think.
After losing in the first round of the playoffs in 2021 and failing to make the playoffs at all last season, James appears to have reassembled a championship-caliber Lakers squad.
LeBron James remarked, “These are the times I cherish the most.” The postseason is my favorite time of year. I’ve played in several games and it’s great fun for me to contribute to the team by making plays and giving my teammates opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
He did it in several ways, including drawing a pair of charges on Memphis superstar Ja Morant in the fourth quarter and blocking a pair of shots in the first quarter (after which he waggled his finger like Dikembe Mutombo).
With 0.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, he tied the game with a layup, escaping the Grizzlies’ defensive player of the year in the paint, Jaren Jackson Jr., by lofting the ball high off the glass.
In the fourth game, James hit a shot that was perhaps Tier 4 quality.
It took a block from Anthony Davis, who ESPN reported was hobbled by a bad right hip sustained in a game against the Phoenix Suns two and a half weeks prior, to force overtime after Morant missed what would have been the game-winning jumper.
After opening the game 1-for-8 from the field, Davis went 3-for-5 in the fourth quarter and overtime and noted, “Things aren’t always going to be perfect.” It’s okay to win poorly sometimes. Even if you aren’t having a good game, you should always try to make your mark. That’s what I focused on doing tonight to help out defensively.
LeBron James’ complete performance typified the Lakers’ collective approach to the game. Davis ended the game with a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks). Austin Reaves scored 23 points to lead the team in scoring. After scoring just 12 points over the previous three games, Jarred Vanderbilt exploded for 15 in this one.
D’Angelo Russell scored 17 points for the Lakers before fouling out. His nine-point run on three third-quarter 3-pointers helped the Lakers overcome a seven-point deficit and take the lead for good.
As Ham put it, “I wish to provide big respect to D’Angelo Russell.” Our attack was faltering, and then he got hot, and gosh, he put us in a bind and gave us a chance to cut the distance, surpass it, and win. We can’t win this game without D’Lo’s incredible performance.
The Lakers are one win away from shocking the Grizzlies and making the playoffs, but they won’t have a chance until James continues to play at his career-best level.
According to James, Game 5 on Wednesday will be the most challenging of the entire series. “It’s the most exhausting one. It’s the harshest of the bunch. It’s on us to be prepared. Also, I think we’re prepared to go through it.
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