L.A.

LeBron James making an early case for MVP

LeBron James, Lakers

The 33-year-old is off to a strong start out of the gate to his first campaign with Los Angeles that has him on pace to make a compelling case for the award.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers kept their forward momentum going after edging past the San Antonio Spurs 121-113 on Wednesday night grabbing their fourth straight win. 

It was yet another contest that the Lakers needed LeBron James to step it up offensively with 42 points on 15-of-24 shooting from the floor along with going 3-of-7 from beyond the arc with six assists, five rebounds, and two steals.

However, James made most of his impact in the fourth quarter pouring in 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor along with nailing all three of his 3-pointers that helped fuel the Lakers’ 43-point effort in the period and erase their four-point deficit to enter the period.

This was another performance that James took full control of in the fourth quarter that needed his steady hand offensively to pick up the Lakers in the final period as it marked his third performance with more than 40 points along with being his 21st game in the first 24 played with more than 20 points. 

It is yet another huge performance that adds to what has been an impressive start for the 33-year-old as he’s pushed his numbers to 28.4 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the floor and 36.9 percent from distance along with 7.6 rebound, and 6.6 assists per game. The 2018-19 has just passed the first quarter mark, but it’s around the time where things start at least gearing toward MVP talks beginning to take shape. 

Although it may still be quite early, this is something that head coach Luke Walton believes James should be at least considered in that top group of players making early cases for the award.

“Well he’s obviously in that top group,” Walton said. “We count on LeBron to do a lot for us. A lot of responsibility comes with the type of player he is and I have been very impressed by the way he handles it. How he continues to work and make winning the ultimate thing.

“For someone of his talent that has won as much as he has for winning to be the ultimate prize to him speaks volumes for who he is and the way that he works and preps and carries himself. But as for where he is right now, it’s too early to say, but he is absolutely having that type of season.”

James has quickly shown the level impact he has on a franchise as he has been the singular driving force for the Lakers as has proven it as more time goes along. He has already become the first player in Lakers history to total at least 265 points (268), 75 rebounds (76) and 75 assists (77) in his first 10 games with the team. In fact, he has joined James Harden, Russell Westbrook (2016-17), John Havlicek (1970-71) and Oscar Robertson (1961-63, ’66-67) as the only players accomplish that feat in their first 10 games of a season

Despite having fully embraced taking on this role early on in the season as their driving factor offensively, especially late in games but James has drawn much satisfaction seeing his teammates find success on the floor.

“I could have a huge workload [or] I could have a not so huge workload,” James said. “It doesn’t matter for me. What’s most important is seeing my teammates make huge shots in the fourth quarter. J. Hart [was] out of rhythm all game because of foul trouble. Zo makes a huge three on the left win. Kuz was making the plays down the stretch as well. That’s what’s most important to me. I can care less about the narrative about me. It doesn’t matter. I’m a staple in this game so it doesn’t matter.”

Beyond that, the Lakers have begun to truly turn it around after a sluggish start to the season having won seven out of their last 10 games including eight out of their last nine games at home. Los Angeles still has plenty of room for improvement, but James has certainly stepped in as the driving force offensively that has helped his team surge up to one of the best records in the Western Conference.

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.
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