James made it his mission to make sure the Lakers didn’t drop yet another game on Tuesday, scoring a game-high 36 points on 15-23 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds. I guess because there are only 16 games left in the Lakers’ season, his body naturally went into playoff mode. At least that gives fans something to look forward to in the postseason next year.
The Lakers also got a pair of nice contributions from Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Kuzma looked comfortable in his first game back from injury, scoring 21 points and posting a box plus-minus of +19, while Caldwell-Pope looked arguably the best he’s looked all season, pouring in 24 points off of the bench and posting a box plus-minus of +18. It would have been nice to see that kind of production from him earlier this season, but better late than never, as they say.
Rounding out the box score for the Lakers was Rajon Rondo, who finished with a 10-assist double-double and JaVale McGee, who looked as sharp as he’s looked defensively this season. It was an all-around good team effort in a meaningless March game. Andre Ingram could not match the fireworks of his NBA debut from last season, finishing with 0 points and missing his only shot in two minutes of playing time.
With a win against Chicago, the Lakers move to within seven games of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They also remain outside of the top-10 in the NBA Draft lottery. Even on a night where they win, the Lakers lose.
The Lakers will be back at it on Thursday to take on the Raptors in Toronto. We’ll see you then.