LOS ANGELES (AP) — One day after quietly celebrating his 37th
birthday at home with his family, LeBron James put on an
James became the oldest player in NBA history to have a game
with at least 40 points and 14 rebounds, scoring a season-high 43
on Friday night as the Los Angeles Lakers rolled to a 139-106
victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to Sportradar, the oldest player to have a 40-14 game
was Larry Bird, who was 35 when he had 49 points and 14 boards for
the Boston Celtics in 1992 (which coincidentally also came against
the Trail Blazers).
“I don’t feel like I have been in the league 19 years. When I am
daily reminded of it, I feel it sometimes," James said after his
67th 40-point game of his career and sixth in four seasons with the
Lakers. “Sometimes you do have to remind people you can still do
what you can do at a high level.”
James was 16 of 26 from the field and made five 3-pointers in a
game where the Lakers led throughout.
“If that’s what our team needs to win, I’m OK with that,” said
James, who during the last seven games — including Friday — is
averaging 36 points and has made 57.8% of his shots from the field.
“I’m not a guy who goes out and sees if I can jack up a bunch of
shots. The streak I have been on with my scoring I have been
efficient. I take pride in that as a player.”
His seven-game streak is not an anomaly: He's done it four other
times. But this is the first since he was with Miami Heat in
February 2013. James’ longest stretch is 10 with the Cleveland
Cavaliers late in the 2005-06 season.
The Lakers were up 69-54 at halftime on 27 points from James,
who went coast-to-coast for a dunk to give Los Angeles a 53-37
advantage midway through the second quarter. He topped the 40-point
mark on a 3-pointer from 27 feet out with 8:25 remaining to put the
Lakers up 109-84.
Los Angeles' largest lead was 35 in the game’s final minute.
“This is just LeBron James playing at a superior level more than
what is happening around him,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
“While (Anthony Davis) is out, he is intent on doing everything he
can to pile up wins and play at an extra-high level.”
Malik Monk scored 18 points, Carmelo Anthony added 16 points and
Russell Westbrook (15 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists) recorded his
ninth triple-double this season for the Lakers, who had dropped six
of their last seven coming into the game.
Portland's Ben McLemore came off the bench to tie his
season-high with 28 points in his first game back after clearing
the league's health and safety protocols. Damian Lillard added 18
points for the Trail Blazers, who have dropped four straight and 11
of their last 13.
“I don’t think we played with enough force. They dictated the
start,” said Portland assistant coach Scott Brooks, who is
directing the team while head coach Chauncey Billups is in the
league's COVID-19 protocols. “They were attacking on both ends of
the floor and we were back on our heels. You can’t do that against
good teams. We gave them too much respect.”
Trail Blazers: Portland had a season-high 21 offensive rebounds.
... McLemore’s 16 points in the first quarter were a season-high
for a player coming off the bench during the first 12 minutes of a
game this season. ... Lillard hit a 3-pointer late in the second
quarter to tie Paul Pierce ninth on the all-time NBA list with
Lakers: Los Angeles made a season-high 19 3-pointers ... The
team's 43 first-quarter points were a season high. ... With his
second field goal of the night, Anthony passed Dominique Wilkins
for 15th place on the NBA’s all-time field goals made list. ...
Vogel was back on the Lakers’ sideline after missing six games
after testing positive for COVID-19.
Trail Blazers: Host Atlanta on Monday to begin a four-game
Lakers: Host Minnesota on Sunday.