LeBron James drops 56 points in Lakers win over Warriors
At least for now, the Los Angeles Lakers have stopped the bleeding. You won’t be surprised to learn that it took LeBron James a huge night.
The Lakers superstar almost single-handedly ended the team’s four-game losing streak on Saturday, leading a second-half rally to defeat the Golden State Warriors 124-116. James finished the game with 56 points, the most he had ever scored in a single game in a Lakers uniform, on 19 of 31 shooting (6 of 11 from deep) with 10 rebounds and three assists.
The highlight came when the Lakers reduced what was once a 14-point deficit to six points midway through the fourth quarter. James threw three 3-pointers on three straight possessions, a personal 9-0 run to give Los Angeles the lead.
The exclamation point came a few minutes later, when James flew in for a dagger via alley-oop.
It was a vintage James night, and historic too. By Statuettehe is the first player in NBA history to have a 50-point game both before turning 21 and after turning 35.
When asked to describe the victory after the game, James was candid:
“Desperation. A four game losing streak, our season has been up and down. I would say desperation and inspiration, we played inspired basketball against a really good team. We needed this win.”
It’s hard to fault James for being desperate. You’ve probably heard of the Lakers’ struggles this season. Even with Saturday’s win, the team is still seven games under the .500 mark at 28-35 and in ninth place in the Western Conference.
Lakers’ struggles don’t go away with 1 win
Beyond the record, discord rages in the Lakers organization, especially around point guard Russell Westbrook, who amassed 20 points, four rebounds and four assists on Saturday. The Lakers were set to trade Westbrook at the deadline, a fact made even more awkward by the fact that James’ agents would be upset the team refused to include a 2027 first-round pick to wrap up the deal. ‘case.
Even on Saturday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there had been a push in the Lakers organization for head coach Frank Vogel, himself very much in the hot seat, to demote Westbrook from the starting lineup.
While all of this was going on, the Lakers languished on the field and in a very public way. Thanks to the wonders of nationally televised games, to which the Lakers are no strangers, the whole country had witnessed a 1-5 streak for the team entering Saturday. In total, the Lakers had lost 11 of their last 14.
The end result was speculation over James’ future with the team and mockery from the home crowd. A single win won’t change the shape of the season, but the Lakers will see every win as a hopeful turning point while they’re this low.