LeBron James drops 56 points to lead Lakers to win over Warriors

Fair or not, LeBron James has endured a lot of criticism and pressure lately for the Lakers’ lackluster performance this season. On Saturday night, he answered the hate with perhaps his best performance with Los Angeles to date – and earned a declaration of victory in the process.

James broke out to score 56 points and record 10 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a whopping 124-116 win over the Warriors in Los Angeles. His 56 points were the most he had scored in a game since joining the Lakers in 2018.

This performance made James the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 50 in a game at age 37 or older. He joins Michael Jordan (51 points, 2001), Jamal Crawford (51 points, 2009) and Kobe Bryant (60 points, 2016) on the list.

The Lakers took an early lead in the game, leading by seven after the first quarter, but let the Warriors come back, then some in the second as Golden State entered halftime leading 67-62. James did his part, however, scoring 26 points on the break.

The Warriors came out and kept the pressure on the Lakers in the third, scoring the first nine points to move up 12. That’s when James decided to take over. He had a blistering run in which he scored 14 of the Lakers’ 17 points in a span of four and a half minutes, bringing Los Angeles down to single digits as he headed to the bench.

Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony poured in six quick minutes in the final minute of the third quarter to bring the Lakers back within five minutes. James checked in with them trailing by three and again decided to grab the reins; after a few misses and three Warriors, James took three straight shots from beyond the arc to put the Lakers up 100-97 with less than eight minutes left.

Both teams kept a tight pace throughout the stretch, and with 1:06 to play, Stephen Curry hit a layup to make it 119-116 in favor of the Lakers. After a timeout, Westbrook missed a jumper, but Austin Reaves spotted a key rebound. He reset James, who drove and found Anthony in the corner for an emphatic three-pointer.

Curry missed a three the next time around, and the Warriors had to foul. James went to the line and hit both, giving it 56 points on the night and putting the game away.

James’ 56-point performance is tied with the Hawks’ Trae Young for the most-scored game by any player this season. Young was down 56 points in a loss to the Trail Blazers on Jan. 3.

Westbrook finished with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists. Anthony scored 14 points off the bench.

Curry led Golden State with 30 points. Jordan Poole added 23 points and five assists off the bench, Otto Porter Jr. had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Sports Grp1

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