Sick, but LeBron scores third triple-double with Lakers
|LOS ANGELES LAKERS||NEW ORLEANS PELICANS|
LeBron James, sick enough earlier in the day that his ability to take the court on Saturday morning (Dec 22, Singapore time) was in doubt, nonetheless finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists as the hosts Los Angeles Lakers turned back the New Orleans Pelicans 112-104.
It was James’ third triple-double as a member of the Lakers and his second in four games. It was also the 76th of his career.
Kyle Kuzma added 23 points for the Lakers, who ended a two-game losing streak.
In his first start of the season, Los Angeles centre Ivica Zubac scored 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. He helped the Lakers make it a positive return home after they went 1-3 on their recent road trip.
Anthony Davis produced 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their third consecutive game and are 0-2 on their current road trip, which also has stops at Sacramento and Dallas.
The status of a number of players was in question at the start of the game because of illness. The availability of both James and Davis was in doubt until the start. The Lakers also had Zubac and Tyson Chandler playing through illness.
Los Angeles guard Rajon Rondo scored eight points and dished out nine assists in his first game since Nov 14. He missed 17 contests because of a broken bone in his hand that required surgery.
Brandon Ingram, who had 18 points for the Lakers, also played after missing the previous seven games because of an ankle injury.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Lakers moved in front in the second quarter and led 69-65 at half-time.
James, Kuzma and Zubac all had 12 points in the first half, with James recording nine assists and Rondo collecting eight. Davis had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the half.
The Lakers led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, but the Pelicans got within three points in the fourth before Los Angeles pulled away late.
Former Laker Julius Randle scored 21 points for the Pelicans, while Darius Miller had 11 and E’Twaun Moore added 10.
Lonzo Ball had 12 points for the Lakers.
The game was played on the same day as an espn.com report that said several unnamed NBA general managers took issue with James saying he would be in favour of one day playing with the Davis.
Small-market GMs reportedly believe James’ comments are a violation of NBA tampering rules.