(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)
LeBron Racks Up 42 Points, Dominates 4th Quarter of Lakers' Win
LeBron James paced around mid-court, stalking his prey. Then, 36 feet away from the hoop, he struck.
The world’s most inhuman player uncorked an extraterrestrial shot, knocking down the Lakers’ go-ahead 3-pointer with his feet parallel to the halfcourt logo.
From Tyson Chandler’s view by the basket, James may as well have been sitting with the ESPN broadcast crew.
“He was down over there by Mark Jackson on that shot, wasn’t he?” Chandler laughed. “When he gets in a zone, he’s just one of those special talents that you love to play with and hate to play against.”
James’ game was beyond special in the Lakers’ 121-113 win over San Antonio, as he went off for 41 points — including 20 in the fourth quarter alone.
After a rough third period, the Lakers (15-9) trailed by eight with eight minutes left when James seized the game. He scored the next nine points from either team, punishing the Spurs (11-14) in transition.
“It’s the fourth quarter and my teammates look at me to make plays,” James said. “… I put that type of pressure on my back, because I love my teammates giving me that responsibility.”
LeBron James was a runaway train during his 20-point fourth quarter. Spurs had no answer for him on fast-breaks. pic.twitter.com/JACRlFbi7k— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) December 6, 2018
James was nigh-unstoppable in the fourth, shooting 7-of-8 and hitting each of his three 3-point attempts — including that go-ahead shot from the concession stand.
“Have you watched LeBron play before?” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich asked. “He is LeBron James. That’s what makes him difficult to guard.”
LeBron also handed out three of his six assists in the fourth, as his young teammates answered the call to step up.
Kyle Kuzma served as first mate, tallying 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists on the night. Lonzo Ball added 14 points and nine assists, providing vital playmaking with Brandon Ingram leaving the game in the first quarter due to a sprained left ankle.
Kuzma, Ball and Josh Hart — who played only 11 minutes due to game-long foul trouble — combined to hit four clutch 3-pointers in the fourth.
“J-Hart’s out of rhythm all game because of foul trouble — he makes two huge 3’s in the fourth quarter,” James said. “Zo makes a huge 3 on the left wing. Kuz making the huge plays down the stretch as well.
“That’s what’s most important to me. I couldn’t care less about the narrative about me.”
Regardless of storylines, James’ takeover was a fact of the night. Under his stewardship, the Lakers concluded a sweep of their four-game homestand, and got revenge on a Spurs club that beat them twice early in the season.
And while San Antonio received its own heroics from DeMar DeRozan (32 points) and Rudy Gay (31), they quickly saw that LeBron has not changed much from his MVP days in Cleveland and Miami.
“When it’s crunch time, you know who the ball goes to,” DeMar DeRozan said. “A few things change, but late in the game he’s still the same LeBron.”
The Lakers have a road rematch with the Spurs in two days. … San Antonio hit all 20 of its free throw attempts, while the Lakers went 23-of-33. … The Lakers held a Los Angeles Kings Night, with Dustin Brown, Alec Martinez and Tyler Toffoli sitting courtside. … Denzel Washington, John David Washington, Adam Sandler, Benicio Del Toro and Alex Bregman were also among the sold-out crowd.