(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)
JaVale Pours in 30 Points, 20 Boards But Lakers Drop to Nets
With the Lakers’ season officially on the line, JaVale McGee had the night of his life.
The 7-footer never let up, pouring in 33 points and 20 rebounds — both career-highs — plus six blocks.
But even McGee’s monster performance couldn’t stave off elimination, as Brooklyn pulled out a 111-106 win, putting an end to the Lakers’ playoff chances.
McGee’s dominance was on the level of legends, as he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (seven times) and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players in franchise history to ever record a 30/20/5 game.
The 11-year veteran was feeling it from the start, scoring all of the Lakers’ first 10 points. And he continued that efficiency by shooting 15-of-20 from the field — largely off cuts to the hoop and put-backs — while throwing down six dunks.
McGee also fed off of playmaking from LeBron James, who constantly drew the defense’s attention before feeding the big man.
“I feel like everybody was focused on LeBron, and he was really setting it up for me to be successful out there,” McGee said. “Also, I was going to the offensive rebounds really hard today, and it just worked out for me. But unfortunately we didn’t win the game.
James put up 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, with 10 of his dimes going to McGee. But it was a tough night for LeBron’s individual offense, as he shot just 8-of-25 from the field and committed eight turnovers.
His costliest giveaway came with the Lakers trailing by three with 23 seconds left, when James attempted to drive but instead slipped as the ball fell out of bounds.
Hence Brooklyn (38-36) was able to finish off a back-and-forth game that included 23 lead changes and 16 ties. NBA 3-point leader Joe Harris led the Nets with 26 points and six triples, while former Laker D’Angelo Russell hung up 21 points and 13 assists.
The Lakers (31-41), meanwhile, fell for the 10th time in their last 11 games. They once again played with most of their young core inactive, as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart all continued to attend to lingering injuries.
“Obviously it’s been a tough season for us,” LeBron said. “It’s not what we signed up for. But throughout the year, things happen — suspensions, injuries, things of that nature — and us just not being able to play sustainable basketball for 48 minutes.
“You don’t even try to wrap your head around it. You keep pushing, see how you can get better tonight, move on to tomorrow and go from there. Like I said, the playoffs are never promised. You have to come out and work.”
McGee had a dozen offensive rebounds, the most by a Laker since Lamar Odom in January 2008. … Kyle Kuzma hit just 5-of-19, though he did make a shot-clock-beater from half-court. … Scott Machado, who was signed to a 10-day contract yesterday, did not play. … Ed Davis (14 points, 15 rebounds) and Jarrett Allen (13 and 11) had double-doubles for Brooklyn.
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