Despite a spirited fourth quarter run from an unlikely supporting cast, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to make the most out of what was a historic night for LeBron James.
On Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets, James moved past Jordan to take the fourth spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. All James needed was 13 points, but he ended the night with a game-high 31 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Up next on the all-time scoring list is Kobe Bryant, who James will likely pass while wearing a Lakers uniform. I’m sure Lakers fans will have a very calm and positive reaction when that happens.
The Lakers nearly made the most of James’ big night by upsetting the No. 2 seeded Nuggets, but they were unable to close things out in the fourth quarter and lost 115-99.
The Lakers never led against Denver and trailed by as much as 23 points, however, in the fourth quarter, they came within two points of tying the game thanks to a run by what is left of their summer league team.
After the starters failed to show the effort necessary to a win big game against a playoff team, head coach Luke Walton turned Alex Caruso, Moe Wagner and Johnathan Williams, who have spent the majority of their season with the South Bay Lakers in the G League. The results did not disappoint, as the scrappy unit showed the simple value of just having players who care and try hard out on court.
With the playoffs probably too far out of reach, the guys that haven’t seen the floor a lot this season should soak up all the bench minutes going forward. We’ll see if they start to do so when the Lakers take on the Boston Celtics at home on Saturday in the final game of the year between the two historic rivals.