After a sitting out the second night of a back-to-back as part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ plan to manage his minutes and workload down the stretch of the season, LeBron James returned to the lineup.
He historically has performed well at Madison Square Garden, and put forth another big game against the New York Knicks. James finished with 33 points, six rebounds and eight assists. However, it was all for naught as the Knicks closed the game on a 15-1 run to steal a victory from the jaws of defeat.
And even with his big performance, James failed to deliver for the Lakers with the game on the line. After Emmanuel Mudiay made two free throws to give the Knicks a one-point lead, the Lakers passed on calling a timeout.
James instead brought the ball up the floor and drove left. He failed to create any separation and had his shot blocked by Mario Hezonja. “Just to get a good,” James said of his thought process heading into the final possession. “Great D by Mario. That’s it.”
James went 4-for-15 in the fourth quarter, missing his final four shots. Lakers head coach Luke Walton explained he was comfortable with James’ shot selection and not taking a timeout. Walton also added that though the final possession will be highlighted, the Lakers lost the game for a multitude of reasons.
The Knicks completed a season sweep of the Lakers with their 124-123 win. That was despite turning the ball over 24 times, which New York managed to offset by making 12 3-pointers.
James entered Sunday’s game having averaged 28.3 points, 7.5 assists and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 50.3 percent from the field in 26 career games at Madison Square Garden. James additionally had won 12 of his last 15 road games against the New York Knicks.