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LeBron James first Lakers player since Magic Johnson with this stat


LeBron James became the first Los Angeles Lakers player since Magic Johnson to record at least 31 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists, and five steals in a single game, in Tuesday night’s 106-103 win over the Phoenix Suns.

The four-time MVP scored 15 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter en route to the Lakers securing the last semifinal spot in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, James has 14th-best odds to win MVP this season. However, he holds ninth-shortest odds to win NBA Clutch Player of the Year. Damian Lillard remains the betting favorite.

James, 38, shot 12-of-25 (48%) from the floor, 2-of-4 (50%) outside the arc, and 5-of-6 (83.3%) at the foul line. The 19-time All-Star scored 15 of the Lakers’ first 19 points in the final frame.

“You’ve got some of the most alpha male competitors in the world, and if you give us an opportunity to play for something meaningful or an incentive, then you get what you’re getting,” James said.

“The in-season tournament is what it is, and we have an opportunity to play on a big stage, be on national television, represent our families, our communities, where we come from.”

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is shooting a career-best 54.6% from the floor this season

It was James’ sixth double-double of the season. Through 21 appearances this season, the 21-year veteran is averaging 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 33.9 minutes per game.

The four-time NBA champ is shooting a career-best 54.6% from the floor and 38.7% beyond the arc as well. James ranks eighth in points (519) this season, ninth in assists (138), and fifth in minutes played (711).

“No disrespect to anyone else, but he’s the best quarterback in the NBA. Bar none,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said of James.

The Lakers earned the top seed in the Western Conference after going 4-0 in the group stage of the in-season tournament, including a 122-119 victory at Phoenix on Nov. 10.

With James healthy, the Lakers have a great shot of winning the first-ever NBA Cup. NBA sportsbooks are giving L.A. second-best odds below the Milwaukee Bucks.

More importantly, James turns 39 on Dec. 30 and is still playing at a high level.

“I want to continue to have this battle with Father Time, that for so long, everybody said has been undefeated. So, you know, I’m trying to give him one loss,” James added.

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