Lakers News: As He Turns 38, Even LeBron James Is Surprised At His Recent Level Of Play
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

At 38 years old, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is still surprising himself. And if you look at his numbers, you might be surprised yourself too.

Prior to the Lakers’ game on Tuesday, he had seven straight games with at least 30 points, including 38 in a Christmas Day loss. The efficiency is eye-popping too — LeBron hasn’t shot under 50% from the field since a Dec. 9 loss to the 76ers. He’s scored less than 20 points only twice this season.

That brand of basketball is almost unheard of in the NBA, practically unrealistic for a 38-year-old in his 20th season. For comparison, 28-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo had eight straight games of at least 30 points and has scored less than 20 three times this season.

LeBron’s consistency is a testament to his commitment to the game, but even he was surprised by his recent play, via NBA.com:

“I do know how much I put into the game and I know how much I put into my body and to my mind and all those things. But I kind of surprise myself sometimes just with the level. When you look at the history of the game, obviously I’ve followed the game for so long since probably I was maybe 8 or 9 years old when I started to really like ‘OK this is the game that I love.’ I started to read about the history of the game and the people that have come through the game and how long they’ve been doing it for and things of that nature. Doesn’t seem like many have played at this level with this many years and this many miles and things on their resume. So, I’m just I guess very humble at the same time to be able to just play the game that I love still at this level and still be a focal point of opposing teams. When they look at who they going against I’m still up there at the top. This is how we need to try to stop him or neutralize what he does and things of that nature. That’s something I pride myself on being that level of player every single night whenever I’m on the floor. Very surprised still but still very humble to be able to like I said play the game that I love to play every night too.”

The King has always been aware of his place in history. Often self-proclaimed as a student of the game, his production at his age is unlike anything the league has ever seen.

It will be interesting to see how he reacts when he eventually passes Kareem Abdul-Jabaar for the most points in NBA history. With the Lakers’ playoff hopes dwindling down, the major milestone adds extra motivation for LeBron. Before the season he spoke about what it would mean to break the record, but James’ consistent play may evolve into a more remarkable accomplishment.

Kareem averaged 23 points per game when he was 38 and 10 points per game in his 20th season when he was 41. LeBron is currently averaging 27.8 per game, which would be the highest total for a 38-year-old in a season. He is less than 600 points away from passing Abdul-Jabbar.

LeBron laments turnovers in loss to Heat

The Lakers took a loss for the fifth time in their last six games, this time a blowout one to the Miami Heat on the road. L.A. shot the ball well and won the rebounding and assist margin.

But 26 turnovers were the main difference in the game, something LeBron pointed out in the postgame press conference.

“I mean, 92 shot attempts to 77 and it’s pretty much off our turnovers,” he said. “They had 31 points off our turnovers, they had 19 second-chance points off offensive rebounds and that’s pretty much the game right there.”

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