The Lakers took a big lead. LeBron James played a winning game. But he wouldn’t do it a second time.
James went through three different Utah defenders for a swinging layup to lead the Lakers to a decisive 135-133 victory over the Jazz. That gave him 37 points as the Lakers won their fourth straight game.
The win looked all but certain when the Lakers took a 10-point lead with less than two minutes to play. But then a nightmare sequence saw the lead slip away for good, punctuated by James’ missed layup at the end of regulation.
James has committed to filling the gap. In overtime, he had three shots, a dunk, two free throws and a block on former teammate Talen Horton-Tucker. He then finished off the win by setting up a huge game against their crosstown rivals on Wednesday night.
As unbelievable as it sounds, the Lakers and Clippers are now tied at 41-38 records. It’s technically a home game for the Clippers, though it’s still the Lakers’ own Crypto.com Arena. The winner effectively captures the five-seed in the Western Conference as both teams have a 42-38 tiebreaker over the Warriors.
How will James prepare for the return game after playing 38 minutes on Monday night? He is considering some unconventional treatment.
He may not have an ice bucket on his feet, but James proved he has ice water running through his veins.