LOS ANGELES – The night before Lebron James scored a season-high 37 points – including the free throw with 1.9 seconds left – and needed 40 minutes to take the lead Lakers over that Houston Rockets 105-104 On Sunday he had to get something off his chest.
It was a rare night off for the 38-year-old player as his team was in the middle of six games in nine days, and he took a break from playing Madden NFL 24 to write a post on his Instagram Story.
He shared a graphic showing how his 35 points against the Portland Trail Blazers On Friday, he topped 30 points for the 108th time since signing with Los Angeles as a free agent in 2018.
“But I only came here to make films!” James wrote, referring to the ridicule he suffered when he moved out Cleveland. “Isn’t that what you said, right!?!?”
Why did he choose this moment to respond to critics?
“Because sometimes you have to remind people,” James said Sunday after the win over the Rockets.
He reminded his teammates that he can still get airborne, capping a drive with a thunderous dunk midway through the fourth period that put LA ahead by seven and led to Houston calling a timeout.
“They joked with me and said I put the ball up too often when I have an open lane,” James said with a satisfied smile. “So I’m trying to change that narrative too.”
He reminded armchair coaches who asked why he would move to an Open Cam Reddish With the game on the line early in the season, he will continue to find the open man at crucial times like he did during the preseason Austin Reaves He made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 24.2 seconds left, putting LA up 103-100.
He reminded the Rockets of that Dillon Brookswho has Become a willing agitator of his In recent seasons, he’s rattled the cage at his own risk, as James scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter on 5-of-6 shooting.
“This is competition,” James said of Brooks, who drew a technical foul on James in the third quarter by pushing out of space and throwing an elbow, and called a foul in the fourth quarter James should make a gesture that is “too small”. after hitting him in the paint. “These young people get me going. So that’s what I need.”
And James remembers why he wants to continue playing in the NBA, with his financial future and professional successes already secured.
“I’m just trying to push the limits,” he said. “See how far I can take this thing. I don’t know it. I mean, it’s me versus Father Time.”
James now has 109 games with 30 or more points as a Laker, moving past the Lakers legend Kobe Bryant placed on another historical list. James has played as many as 237 games with 35 or more points in his career, surpassing Bryant’s 236 points and moving into third place all-time, just one behind Wilt Chamberlain (381) and Michael Jordan (333).
James did it by shooting 14 of 19 from the field (73.7%), continuing the most efficient season he has ever had if he keeps it up. James is now shooting 58.6% in 13 games overall on the season, which is better than his best career year with the intense heat in 2013-14, when he shot 56.7%. His 39.7% from 3 is also not far off the career-best 40.6% he posted with Miami in 2012-13.
“I’ve been able to be on the field a lot more on off days this year because I’ve had foot injuries or whatever the case may be the last couple of years,” James told ESPN. “Being able to focus on whatever I need to do instead of having to get up unless we’re playing games has allowed me to stay in rhythm.”
“I got my bounce back, my bounce back, my quick twitch back and stuff like that.”
“The thing about Bron is that I’ve never really seen him in a bad mood. He always has energy. He’s the oldest player in the NBA, but he acts like he’s 20 every day.”
Lakers guard Austin Reaves
It seems like he has regained his spirit too. After completing his 20th season, he was eliminated from the playoffs Denver Nuggets and he openly considered retiring, and that was followed by a summer in which his eldest son, Bronny JamesWhen he suffered a cardiac arrest, his enjoyment of the game that season was unmistakable.
“The thing about Bron,” Reaves said, “I’ve never really seen him in a bad mood. He always has energy. He’s the oldest player in the NBA, but he acts like he’s 20 every day.”
“At one point I looked over and saw Bronny sitting on the sidelines too, and I thought, ‘Okay, I need to turn it up a little bit,'” James said.
Turn it up and turn back time.
“He was outstanding,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “The LeBron we have all come to know and love over these 21 years.”