Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar, LeBron James, continues to etch his name in the annals of basketball history. In a recent In-Season Tournament game against the Phoenix Suns, James accomplished a stunning feat, solidifying his place alongside the legendary Kobe Bryant in Lakers’ lore.
LeBron James Matches Kobe Bryant’s LA Record in Monumental Suns Game
According to Anthony Gharib of ESPN, James became the first Lakers player in 19 years to record at least 20 points, 10 assists, and five steals in a single game. The last time such a performance was achieved was in November 2004, when Kobe Bryant, another iconic figure in Lakers history, accomplished the same feat. Notably, James’ five-steal tally makes him the oldest player to achieve this milestone since the 1973-74 season when this statistic was first measured.
LeBron shows off the strength for the and-1 😤
🏆 NBA In-Season Tournament pic.twitter.com/vwc1VyNNd7
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 6, 2023
At the age of 38 (turning 39 later this month) and in his remarkable 21st NBA season, James continues to defy expectations with his exceptional skills and longevity. ESPN reports that this marks James’ fifth career game with 20 or more points, 10 or more assists, and five or more steals. Notably, it is his first such performance since February 5th, 2008, when he faced off against the Celtics.
During the game against the Suns, James showcased his all-around brilliance, accumulating 31 points on 12-of-25 shooting from the field, along with 11 assists, eight rebounds, and five steals. His impact on the court was undeniable, contributing significantly to his team’s success.
As the game approached its conclusion, with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation, Lakers’ rookie Austin Reaves drained a crucial three-pointer to give LA a four-point lead, 105-101. It seemed inevitable that the Lakers would secure the victory and advance to the In-Season Tournament West Semifinals. The winner of this matchup would then face the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.
The In-Season Tournament holds significant financial incentives for the teams involved. The overall winner of the tournament receives an additional $500,000, which is distributed among the players. For teams with three players on two-way contracts, such as the Lakers, this represents a substantial sum. The recipients of this bonus in the Lakers’ case are center Colin Castleton, wing Alex Fudge, and guard D’Moi Hodge.
LeBron James’ historic performance against the Phoenix Suns not only highlights his individual brilliance but also cements his place in Lakers history alongside the late Kobe Bryant. As James continues to defy the limitations of age and amass remarkable statistics, his impact on the game and his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time only grows stronger.