LeBron James capped a season-best, 56-point performance with a dunk during a late 8-0 run as the Los Angeles Lakers survived a frantic finish to outlast the visiting Golden State Warriors, 124-116, on Saturday, March 5 (Sunday, March 6, Manila time).
The points were the most James has scored as a member of the Lakers, while his 50-point game was the 13th of his career. His previous high since joining Los Angeles had been 51 points at Miami in 2018.
Despite James’ brilliance, the Lakers found themselves down 112-111 after a Jonathan Kuminga dunk with 3:47 to go.
Carmelo Anthony put the hosts on top for good on a three-point play 18 seconds later, after which Malik Monk drilled a three-pointer and James turned a Monk steal into a dunk that opened a 119-112 advantage with just 2:10 remaining.
Seeking to end a season-worst, three-game losing streak, the Warriors hung within 119-116 on a Stephen Curry layup with 1:06 to go.
They potentially had a chance to draw even after Russell Westbrook misfired on a jumper with 45.2 seconds left. But Golden State failed to secure the rebound, Austin Reaves grabbed the board, and Anthony bombed in a three-pointer with 34.3 seconds remaining, securing the win.
In matching the third-highest scoring game of his career, James shot 19-for-31 from the field and 6-for-11 on three-pointers. He was even hot at the free throw line, finishing 12-for-13, and also found time for a game-high-tying 10 rebounds.
James’ career-high is 61 points for the Heat against the Charlotte Hornets in 2014.
Westbrook finished with 20 points for the Lakers, who were coming off a 21-point shellacking at the hands of the rival Clippers two nights earlier. Anthony totaled 14 points, Monk 12 and Reaves 10.
The Lakers won the game at the foul line, finishing 18 for 21. Meanwhile, the Warriors missed 10 of their 19 tries.
Curry had 30 points for Golden State, which has lost eight of its last 10 games to fall into third place in the Western Conference for the first time this season. Curry hit 4 of his 9 three-point attempts and 13 of 22 overall.
Otto Porter Jr. had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Warriors, while Jordan Poole went for 23 points, Kuminga 18, and Andrew Wiggins 14.
Klay Thompson was held to 7 points on 3-for-13 shooting for Golden State, which lost despite shooting 50%. The Lakers finished at 49.4%. – Rappler.com