In an impressive display of skill and determination, LeBron James showed once again that he has what it takes to dominate a game in the crucial fourth quarter. Despite his age, James proved to be as motivated as ever as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
At the halftime, the Rockets held a lead, but the Lakers came out strong in the third quarter, taking a six-point advantage heading into the final period. The Rockets made a counter push, narrowing the deficit to just two points with five minutes remaining. However, James was not about to let the Lakers lose on their home court.
LeBron, who had already played 35 minutes at that point, seemed to tap into another level of energy that one wouldn't expect from a 38-year-old. He went on to either score or assist on 14 of the Lakers' final 15 points, including a crucial game-winning free throw with only 1.2 seconds left on the clock, securing the victory. Let's analyze how James delivered a vintage performance to close out the game against the Rockets.
With 5:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, Rockets' Dillon Brooks sank a 3-pointer, cutting the Lakers' lead to just two points. From that moment on, James made it his mission to seal the win. He immediately responded with a quick two-point shot, and when Brooks hit another 3-pointer, James countered with a 3-pointer of his own, extending the Lakers' lead to four.
LeBron showcased his shooting range with a deep 3-pointer to add to his impressive 33-point tally. Each time the Rockets threatened to make a comeback, James found another burst of energy. He effortlessly attacked the rim, drawing fouls and making an impact. He also showcased his playmaking skills when he donned the role of a dangerous playmaker.
With less than 30 seconds remaining and only 10 seconds on the shot clock, the Rockets sent a double-team to James, aiming to force someone else on the Lakers to step up and make a play. James quickly recognized the situation and unselfishly swung the ball to Austin Reaves, who confidently sank a deep 3-pointer, giving the Lakers the lead.
Despite the efforts of the young Houston squad, who tied the game at 104 with a strong layup, James, the 19-time All-Star, ensured that he would not be outperformed. The Lakers called a timeout to advance the ball and inbounded it to James with only four seconds remaining. James wasted no time, dribbling past Brooks and driving to the rim, drawing a foul and earning a trip to the free-throw line.
With 1.2 seconds left on the clock, James calmly stepped up to the line and sunk the game-winning free throw, redeeming himself after missing his initial attempt. It was an exceptional display of composure and clutch performance.
To summarize the Lakers' final 15 points in the fourth quarter: James scored on two field goals, a 3-pointer, and made two free throws. He also assisted Reaves for a 3-pointer and made another free throw himself. In total, James finished the game with an astonishing 37 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and three steals, while playing for a remarkable 40 minutes.
At 38 years old, in his 21st season, James continues to defy expectations and challenges the notion of aging. This vintage takeover performance against the Rockets served as a powerful reminder that he has not lost his touch. He remains a force to be reckoned with in the NBA.