Austin Reaves peeled the bandages and ice baggage off his knees as he walked towards his postgame information convention. Unprompted, he puzzled at what he witnessed earlier within the night time — 38-year-old LeBron James snatching a lob move and turning it right into a two-handed windmill.
“He’s sick,” Reaves repeated. “Sick.”
After scoring 47 factors on his birthday in Atlanta, James dropped 43 on Monday in opposition to the Charlotte Hornets, main the Lakers to a 121-115 victory, capping a five-game journey with a profitable document.
Early within the third quarter, James roamed the baseline close to the Lakers bench, the seats nonetheless empty from the halftime intermission. He’d simply scored — once more — by powering by way of the Hornets protection. He pounded his chest and barked at nobody specifically, nearly irritated on the ineffective technique the Hornets had been throwing at him.
“I just always try to play the game and read the game the right way throughout the course of the 48 minutes,” James mentioned. “But I just had a mindset of trying to close this trip off the right way. Two tough losses on this road trip, but the last two games, we played extremely well. And we closed it off the right way.”
Since turning 38 on Friday, James has had consecutive 40-point video games — simply the second participant in NBA historical past to have back-to-back video games with at the very least 40 after turning 38. Michael Jordan did it for Washington twice within the 2001-02 season.
Monday, James additionally grabbed 11 rebounds and added six assists.
“It’s incredible,” Reaves mentioned. “To see him at his age, like you said, just turned 38, the stuff that he does, the way that he moves, the contact that he endures in a full game, and just the way that his body has held up this whole time, it’s super impressive. But it’s a testament to what he does on a daily basis. He’s always the first one in the training room, the first one taking care of his body, and also getting the work in as well. So, to say the least, I’m happy to be on his team.”
James missed all 5 of his three-point makes an attempt — the one blemish in a recreation through which every thing else was working. Like Reaves mentioned, he absorbed contact by going by way of Charlotte’s weaker defenders. He flew round on the break, catching a move from Dennis Schroder that had his teammates in disbelief. And, down the stretch, he helped seal the win from the free-throw line after Charlotte furiously reduce the Lakers’ 24-point result in single digits within the fourth quarter.
With Charlotte trailing by solely six, Thomas Bryant grabbed a key offensive rebound and completed with a ferocious, two-handed slam on Mason Plumlee, a spotlight nearly as spectacular as James’ two-handed reverse.
Beginning rather than the injured Anthony Davis, Bryant completed with 18 factors and 15 rebounds. Troy Brown Jr., within the lineup for Lonnie Walker IV, who missed his second straight recreation with a bruised tailbone, had 12 factors
and three steals. And Schroder and Reaves every scored 15, with Reaves including six rebounds and 7 assists.
Schroder and Patrick Beverley hounded and annoyed Charlotte star LaMelo Ball for many of the recreation, although Ball ultimately acquired scorching within the fourth to complete with 27 factors.
“They just made it tough,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham mentioned. “He still ends up with  points, but that kid has elite-level talent and it’s hard to shut people out but the biggest thing you want to do, especially when you have multiple perimeter defenders and especially two such as Dennis and Pat, is you let them both have their share of time on him and you just try to make things as difficult as possible.”
The Lakers now come again to Los Angeles for video games in opposition to Miami on Wednesday and Atlanta on Friday, having received 5 of their final 11 video games.
Throughout that stretch, James is averaging 34.5 factors, 7.4 rebounds and seven.0 assists.
“I feel really good in every facet of my game,” James mentioned. “Obviously, I haven’t shot the three-ball well but I still feel good when I’m taking them. My in-between, my mid-range game is feeling as best as it’s been throughout this season. And obviously, I’ve always been pretty efficient at the rim. It’s always a blessing for me to just be out there with the guys and try to make plays happen and help us win ballgames. And tonight was another moment for that.”