The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been great in back-to-back’s this season, although at times 38-year-old LeBron James has put the team on his back and led them to victory.
That was the case during Monday’s 140-132 home win against the Houston Rockets. James led the Purple and Gold with 48 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in what was a back-and-forth contested battle with a young competitive Rockets team.
While the Rockets had five players score in double figures, a lot of their offensive firepower came from second-year big man Alperen Sengun.
Sengun was the leading scorer for the Rockets with a career-high 33 points to go along with 15 rebounds and six assists. Even though he had a career night, Sengun admitted that his team had no answer for James, who he matched up with at times.
“Yeah, some of the time he guarded me and that was a great moment for me. We didn’t stop him today, he was really good.”
While James was the biggest star of the night, Sengun popped off the screen as well as Thomas Bryant struggled to contain him. The 20-year-old recalled James telling Bryant that he would guard Sengun, which even led to some trash-talking in what was a special moment for the second-year player.
“LeBron was telling Bryant ‘I’m gonna guard him.’ I wanted to say OK, I’m gonna play my game. It was a great moment and then I trash-talked with them, it was a lot of fun.”
Even though Sengun and the Rockets could not come up with a victory in a tightly contested fight against L.A, he shared his thoughts on playing against one of the all-time greats in King James.
“Playing against LeBron, that’s everyone’s dream. You’re watching him as a kid, you play with him on 2K and know what he does best and now you’re playing against him and talking to him, trash-talking, everything. It was a great moment what I was doing with him. Maybe 5-10 years later, I’m gonna explain to my kid, I’m gonna say that I played against him, he was talking. It’s a great moment for me.”
If Monday’s showdown proved anything, is that young and upcoming players like Sengun are striving to beat James before the four-time MVP winner hangs up his jersey for the last time in his professional career.
Davis continuing to progress toward return
As the Lakers continue to grind it out in the middle of the season before Anthony Davis returns, the Purple and Gold have been finding their stride as of late by only being 1.5 games behind the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Davis suffered a foot injury in December but has been seen getting some light on-court work in before a game. The eight-time NBA All-Star seems to be getting in position to come back and help a Lakers team that is looking to make the postseason, which will be a much-needed boost.
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