The 2021-22 NBA regular season wraps up next week, with just a handful of games for each franchise to play before the play-in tournament…
One day after quietly celebrating his 37th birthday at home with his family, LeBron James has put on an age-defying performance.
James became the oldest player in NBA history to have a game with at least 40 points and 14 rebounds, scoring a season-high 43 on Friday as the Los Angeles Lakers rolled to a 139-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to Sportradar, the oldest player to have a 40-14 game was Larry Bird, who was 35 when he had 49 points and 14 boards for the Boston Celtics in 1992, which coincidentally also came against the Trail Blazers.
“I don’t feel like I have been in the league 19 years. When I am daily reminded of it, I feel it sometimes,” James said after his 67th 40-point game of his career and sixth in four seasons with the Lakers.
“Sometimes you do have to remind people you can still do what you can do at a high level.”
James was 16 of 26 from the field and made five three-pointers in a game the Lakers led throughout.
“If that’s what our team needs to win, I’m OK with that,” said James, who during the last seven games is averaging 36 points and has made 57.8 per cent of his shots from the field.
“I’m not a guy who goes out and sees if I can jack up a bunch of shots. The streak I have been on with my scoring I have been efficient. I take pride in that as a player.”
His seven-game streak is not an anomaly. He’s done it four other times. But this is the first since he was with the Miami Heat in February 2013. James’ longest stretch is ten with the Cleveland Cavaliers late in the 2005-06 season.
“This is just LeBron James playing at a superior level more than what is happening around him,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
“While (Anthony Davis) is out, he is intent on doing everything he can to pile up wins and play at an extra-high level.”
Malik Monk scored 18 points, Carmelo Anthony added 16 and Russell Westbrook (15 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists) recorded his ninth triple-double this season for the Lakers, who have dropped to seventh in the West after losing six of their last seven coming into the game.