(Los Angeles) Back in Cleveland, LeBron James was sparkling during the Lakers’ victory (115-108) against the Cavaliers on Monday in the NBA, during an evening also marked by the second success in a row of the “Big 3 ”of the Nets against the Heat.
It’s been two years since he had repressed the floor of the Cavs, so “LBJ”, over-motivated, pulled out all the stops to disgust his former team in the last quarter. His 21 points (9/10 on shots) were devastating. And he finished with 46 units (19/26), his season’s highest total.
A wink that will give fans a boost, on the eve of the first anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death, James, 36, has become the oldest Lakers player to exceed 40 points in a meeting since his glorious elder who had scored 60 at 37, in the last game of his career in 2016.
Omnipresent, he added 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks including one in the stratosphere, under the astonished eyes of Kevin Love, his former teammate of the title won in 2016, currently injured and with whom he had fun redoing their combination of “high five” in defiance of the anti-COVID-19 protocol of the NBA.
“It’s still great to see that he can still raise his level like that. He really wanted to win against his old team here. He carried us to the end, it is one of his great evenings that we will remember… ”commented Frank Vogel, the leader’s coach in the West.
Brooklyn ends strong
When the score is tight at the end of the match, it is better to have a star with you who can make a difference. The Nets them have three and when they get together, it is formidable, as found at its expense the Heat, who cracked (98-85) after a terrible 15-0 conceded.
During this fatal fourth quarter, Kevin Durant (20 pts 13 rebounds), yet hardly skilful (6/21 in the shoot), began the work of demolition of the Heat with two baskets behind the arc, Kyrie Irving (16 pts), applied in defense, saved balls, and James Harden put the finishing touches by entering 10 of his 20 points.
It took this awakening of the “Big 3” to avoid a third setback in four games together, as the Heat, yet deprived of Jimmy Butler, held the dragee high in the wake of Bam Adebayo (26 pts, 10 rebounds, 5 passes).
The Nets consolidate their 5e square. Miami remains crowded at 13e rank.
Denver defeats Doncic
The Slovenian prodigy Luka Doncic again managed an impressive triple-double (35 pts, 16 assists, 11 rebounds), his sixth of the season, doubling for the occasion Nikola Jokic (20 pts, 10 rebounds). But it was the Nuggets who had the last word on the Mavericks (117-113).
After the exclusion of Jamal Murray for a blow deemed intentional, given with his right arm to the groin of Tim Hardaway Jr, it is the 6e man Michael Porter Jr (30 pts) who held the Nuggets home. His eight points in the final seconds made the difference.
After this 4e consecutive success, Denver consolidates its 5e place in the West, Dallas slips to 10e rank.
Indiana, Detroit and Orlando, who remained on defeats against Toronto, Philadelphia and Charlotte, took their revenge in “back-to-back”.
The Pacers (4e in the East) relied on Malcolm Brogdon (36 pts, 9 assists) to win (129-114) at the expense of the Raptors.
The Pistons took advantage of the address of rear Delon Wright (8/12, 28 pts, 9 assists) to surprise the Sixers who are not the same when Joel Embiid is not there (four absences, as many defeats ).
The Magic dismissed the Hornets (117-108), thanks to Nikola Vucevic (28 pts, 12 rebounds), during a historic match since, for the first time, the refereeing trio was composed of two women and a man.