At one moment in the third quarter, LeBron James came up limping and rubbing his calf, causing a ton of fear to Los Angeles Lakers fans around the world. But aside from those couple of minutes, James looked every bit like the best player in the world on Thursday night.
James finished with 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and two blocks in 29 minutes, but the Lakers would finish the preseason winless as they came up short against the Sacramento Kings, 116-112. LeBron shot 12-of-20 from the field including a pair of 3-pointers, and also cut his turnovers down with just three after giving it up six times in the prior contest.
Set to enter his 19th NBA season, James looked more like a player a decade younger as he dominated the game in each facet. He was unstoppable going to the basket and had his jumper working as well while also orchestrating a Lakers offense that looked much more in sync than in previous contests.
Russell Westbrook also had his best showing of the preseason, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and finishing with 18 points, five assists and three steals. Like James, Westbrook also had just three turnovers and lived at the rim, consistently attacking both in the half-court and transition.
Anthony Davis, on the other hand, struggled to get going offensively as he shot just 5-of-18 from the field for 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. He also shot just 4-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Despite the loss, there were some more positives for the Lakers overall. Carmelo Anthony added 15 points off the bench and knocked down 3-of-4 from deep, showing off his much-needed ability to stretch the floor for L.A.
DeAndre Jordan also had his best preseason game with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Dwight Howard was everywhere on the night and totaled five points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
The preseason contest had a regular-season feel to it and was truly a game of runs as both teams held double-digit leads at different points before the other would ultimately storm back. As a team, the Lakers shot 46.8% but just 31% from deep and an even more disappointing 62.5% from the free-throw line. They did outrebound the Kings, 56-49, and had 25 assists on the night compared to 15 turnovers.
Burgeoning fan favorite Austin Reaves shot just 2-of-8 on the night for five points but continued to look like a player who could contribute if needed as he added seven assists and five rebounds with no turnovers.
Next up for the Lakers
The regular season will officially begin with a three-game homestand as the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors next Tuesday, Oct. 19. That will be followed by games against the Phoenix Suns on Friday the 22nd, and the Memphis Grizzlies next Sunday the 24th.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!