LeBron James just will not stop, exploding in the fourth quarter to carry the Los Angeles Lakers to a 122-114 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday afternoon.
The game was well and truly in the balance heading into the fourth, with the Lakers holding a slender 85-83 lead.
James had 17 points at that time before taking over in the final quarter, like he has so many times in his career, adding another 14 to his tally.
“I’m a motherf***ing problem, b***h” James said as he scored a clutch and-1 to put the Lakers 118-112 ahead in the final minute of the game.
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James finished the game with 31 points, five assists and five rebounds in what was a mixed shooting night (3-for-10 3PG, 12-for-26 FG).
Malik Monk also came up big in the fourth to finish with 24 points, matching a season-high six 3-pointers.
All up, Monk and James combined for 25 of the Lakers’ 37 points in the fourth quarter.
Russell Westbrook even impressed, finishing without a single turnover — the biggest criticism of his game which has come to hurt the Lakers on so many occasions.
It was the first time Westbrook did not record a turnover while playing over 30 minutes since 2013 and ended a 407-game streak with a turnover.
That was the longest such streak since turnover tracking began in 1977-78.
“Russ is really invested in this team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said post-game.
“He’s not always perfect, but I was really proud he came out and had zero turnovers tonight after that high turnover game in his last game.”
Westbrook shot 7-for-19 from the floor to finish with 19 points along with seven rebounds and a steal.
De’Aaron Fox led the way for the Kings with 30 points while Buddy Hield lit it up off the bench, putting up 26 points after draining seven 3-pointers,.
Hield, of course, was heavily linked in trade talks with the Lakers before they ended up going for Westbrook, whose $126 million contract has been a big point of criticism recently.
‘DON’T FEAR NOBODY’: JA MORANT COMES UP BIG AGAIN
Ja Morant scored the go ahead basket with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift the Memphis Grizzlies to a 110-106 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Morant scored six of his 26 points in the final minute as the Grizzlies won their six straight game in front of a crowd of 18,100 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
“I don’t fear nobody,” said Morant.
“If you are 7-foot-7 I don’t care, I am coming straight at you.”
Morant hit a short jump shot to give the Grizzlies a 106-104 lead, then stole the ball from Cavs Brandon Goodwin for another score with 22 seconds remaining.
Morant then sealed the win by hitting a pair of free throws as the Grizzlies won for the 10th time in the last 11 games on the road.
The Grizzlies were coming off a 118-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
“We came in knowing we had back-to-back games. We just had to lock in defensively and find a way. We came up with some key stops at the end of the game to get the win.”
Morant also added six assists, but his franchise-record run of 30-point games was halted at five.
Darius Garland had 27 points and 10 assists in his return to Cleveland’s lineup after missing four games due to Covid-19 measures.
Jaren Jackson scored 22 points and Desmond Bane had 11 points and a career-best seven assists for Memphis.
RAPTORS SURGING AS STAR CONTINUES STRONG RUN
In Toronto, Fred VanVleet scored 24 of his 33 points in the first half as the Toronto Raptors won their third straight game with a 129-104 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
VanVleet also had seven assists and was seven of 14 in three-point attempts at Scotiabank Arena.
Van Vleet has scored at least 30 points in the past three games as the Raptors improved to 17-17 to reach .500 on the season.
Pascal Siakam added 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, Gary Trent tallied 21 points, OG Anunoby and Justin Champagnie each scored 14 points in the win.
Scottie Barnes had 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and Precious Achiuwa had 10 points.