Published by Staff Writers, 15th November 2018 on foxsports.com.au
LeBron James has been good this season. Comes with the territory of being the best player in the league.
But it’s hard to deny that he’s been coasting.
Well, James ‘flipped the switch’ against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday (AEDT); putting together what was clearly his best game of the season in a 126-117 win at Staples Center.
James dominated Portland, who are sitting second in the Western Conference; dropping 44 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, and three blocks in a near-perfect display.
And if that wasn’t enough, the four-time MVP also passed Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James now sits fifth, only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan.
James scored 28 points in the second half and vaulted past Chamberlain on a three-point play with 3:55 to go, finishing the night with 31,425 career points.
“When I’m able to do what I love what I love to do, and do at this level, even being mentioned with the greatest to have every played this game, it just always brings me back to my hometown of Akron,” James said post-game.
“Knowing where I come from, knowing how hard it was to get to this point. And just never being in ‘satisfied’ mode.”
Before the Lakers embark on a three-game trip including his return to Cleveland, James showed his new home fans what they can expect in big games, as if they didn’t already know.
James scored 16 points in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth, never allowing Portland to make a final run during the Lakers’ fourth consecutive win.
Damian Lillard had 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and CJ McCollum scored 23 points in the Trail Blazers’ first road loss to the Lakers since Feb. 22, 2013, ending a nine-game streak at Staples.
“It’s still a process for us, and we want to try get better every day,” James said.
“I believe we’ve done that since the start of training camp.
“We’ve gotten from September to October, and now we’re in November, and we’ve gotten better throughout these first two and a half months. So we want to try and continue that.”
INJURY NEWS: Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Rajon Rondo is expected to miss up to four weeks with a broken right hand.