LeBron James dropped 56 points on the Warriors Saturday night, leading the Lakers to a 124-116 win and ending a four-game losing streak, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. James shot 19-of-31 from the field, 6-of-11 from three, and 12-of-13 from the line while adding 10 rebounds and three assists in nearly 39 minutes of action.
The 56-point effort tied Trae Young‘s NBA season-high and is the most points LeBron has scored in a game for Los Angeles, Buha notes. James said he was just happy to get a win.
“It’s funny, our guys were following me off the floor tonight going into the locker room and they asked me, ‘How does it feel to score 56?’” James said. “I said, ‘Right now, I don’t give a damn about the 56. I’m just happy we got a win.’ That’s just literally the first thing that came to my mind.”
James’ spectacular performance was historic for a couple other reasons, Buha writes. He passed Karl Malone for the most combined regular season and postseason minutes, and became just the fourth player to record 50-plus points in a game at age 37 or older, joining Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Jamal Crawford.
“There’s really no words for it,” coach Frank Vogel said of James’ 56-point game. “An incredible performance by the best to ever do it, in my opinion, and as I’ve said.”
The Lakers have had an undeniably disappointing season, barely clinging to the No. 9 seed in the West with a 28-35 record, but James has been consistently great on offense. He’s now tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for second in the league in scoring with 29.4 points per game, just a tenth of a point behind Joel Embiid‘s league-leading 29.5. It’s James’ highest scoring average since 2009/10.
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- A source tells Marc Stein of Substack that James was a leading supporter of Alex Caruso and badly wanted the Lakers to re-sign him, but the team declined to offer Caruso a contract comparable to the four-year, $37MM deal he received from the Bulls last summer due to luxury tax concerns. Caruso was having a strong season for Chicago, but has played just 28 games to this point and is currently sidelined with a fractured right wrist.
- Appearing on NBA Today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (video link) that the Lakers haven’t moved on from Vogel due to long-term injuries to Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn, and more importantly the front office doesn’t think that replacing Vogel would make a difference in the team’s performance. “(The Lakers) would like to get through the rest of this season with Frank Vogel,” Wojnarowski said.
- Prior to Saturday’s game, in an appearance on NBA Countdown (video link), Magic Johnson said the trade for Westbrook “could go down as the worst trade in Laker history” if L.A. is unable to advance past the play-in tournament.
- D.J. Augustin and Wenyen Gabriel are eager to make an impact with their new club, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. “I know they haven’t been playing up to everybody’s expectations, I would say,” Augustin said of the Lakers. “But it’s the NBA, and things happen. But we’re still in a good position where we can still have a chance. And that’s all you need in this league, is a chance.”