LOS ANGELES — With Los Angeles down by as many as 19 in the first half against their local rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, the odds of the Lakers ending the 11-game losing streak versus their hallway rival was looking grim. The Lakers charged back thanks to their three-big lineup of Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood and Anthony Davis going on a 15-5 run to end the third quarter up by two points.
Then LeBron James went to work.
“I feel like in the fourth quarter, that’s when I’m at my best,” James said postgame.
And his best he was. James continually attacked the newest Clippers addition, PJ Tucker, to get to the basket and rack up points down the stretch of the game. However, Los Angeles could not closeout the Clippers in regulation after Paul George hit three free throws to tie it up and D’Angelo Russell’s game-winning three-pointer failed to go in.
Having to play well past the 30-minute mark that head coach Darvin Ham hinted as the goal for James this season, James finished the night clocking in 42 minutes, 35 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists.
James’ 35 points is now the highest point total for any player in Year 21 of NBA action.
The biggest highlight from James’ stellar night came with 2:12 left in overtime when Austin Reaves fed James a behind-the-back lob, which James punched in for the exclamation point, all but sealing the game for Los Angeles. Reaves discussed the play postgame.
“At no point (once) I got that ball did I think I was going to shoot it,” Reaves said. “I seen him, and I was going to pass it the whole way. It’s cool for me just because I grew up a basketball fan and I’ve seen him dunk it like that off a lob a million times, so for me to be able to throw it to him is special.”
James was much more modest about his highlight when discussing the alley-oop.
“I’m just happy I’m still able to go get them at this point in my career,” James said “I mean, he trusted me to go get it and I understand how much of a momentum play those are. Especially coming off a turnover, we get a good fastbreak and, obviously Magic, Kareem and those guys created showtime and things of that nature, so we trying to keep that going.”
The Lakers have now won two in a row and are 3-2 on the season and will try to keep it going against Orlando as they embark on a four-game road trip.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.