LeBron James scored 32 points and shook off a shin injury to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 122-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday in the NBA In-Season Tournament, snapping the franchise’s three-game losing streak.
The Suns led for much of the game until the fourth quarter, when the Lakers hauled themselves back into contention to set up a grandstand finale.
Anthony Davis settled the contest after making two free throws to open LA’s advantage to six points with a second remaining.
“I think it’s the first time that we finally got over the hump as far as this road trip,” James said afterwards, according to ESPN.”
“We’ve been playing from behind in a lot of our games and haven’t been able to take the lead in some of the later games that we’ve lost. So that was a good feeling.”
After colliding with Durant in the first quarter, James had treatment for a shin injury on the bench but was able to continue playing after a few moment of limping around.
As well as his 32 points, James added six assists and 11 rebounds, while D’Angelo Russell contributed 19 points and nine assists.
Durant’s heroic 38 points for the Suns were ultimately not enough to prevent the Lakers picking up a first road win of the season.
Elsewhere, Luka Dončić added yet another accolade to his growing collection as he became just the third player in NBA history, after Michael Jordan and James, to have scored more than 40 points in 30 different games by the age of 25.
He contributed 44 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Dallas Mavericks dismantled the Los Angeles Clippers 144-125.
Against the Clippers, Dončić now averages 32.9 points per game – the highest average any player enjoys against any one team in their conference since 1976.
“I didn’t know that. I mean, that’s great,” he said modestly afterwards, according to the Mavs’ website.
Meanwhile, Victor Wembanyama finished with 29 points, nine rebounds and four blocks but his San Antonio Spurs succumbed to a 117-110 loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves.