Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James put together another historic night with his 86th career triple-double as the Lakers defeated the scrappy Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 for their fifth-straight win.
James became the first player ever to record a triple-double versus every NBA franchise on a night dedicated to Lakers legendary announcer Chick Hearn.
“I really don’t know what to really think about it,” James said after hearing that he became the first player with a triple-double versus all 30 NBA teams. “It’s a pretty cool stat to know and I’m glad it happened in a win.”
James added he hopes that he has a winning record through all those triple doubles because that is what really matters.
“… I Don’t know if that will ever get accomplished again.” Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel said about James recording a triple-double versus every team over his 17 seasons.
“For him to be doing what he’s doing in his 17th year is nothing short of remarkable.” Vogel said. The Lakers head coach also called the achievement unbelievable.
“Who Knows?” Vogel said when asked how long James could sustain his greatness. James entered the game averaging 25 points, 7.6 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game at age 34.
Vogel added he hopes for Lakers fans that James keeps the remarkable performances up for a long-time. He does not see why James can not sustain it this season.
The Lakers head coach said James hurt teams in “anyway imaginable.” In the past, Vogel said he would coach his teams to keep James out of the paint and force him into beating them from deep but James has adapted his game to score from downtown.
Speaking of 3-pointers, James capped off his historic night with a three-pointer that gave the Lakers an 11-point lead with just over three minutes left in the fourth. James could’ve scored the Lakers final points with two free throws within the final thirty seconds but he missed both attempts.
Nonetheless, the Thunder battled with the Lakers throughout. They trailed by as much as 11 but Oklahoma City cut the lead to 109-107 with just over a minute left in the fourth.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope caught a pass and drilled a three after one dribble which gave the Lakers a 112-107 lead entering the final minute of the fourth. Caldwell-Pope finished with 13 points and four rebounds in 33 minutes.
Oklahoma City found ways to cut the lead to single-digits every time Los Angeles found some momentum. L.A. led by as much as but only held a 93-87 advantage entering the fourth. Lakers guard Rajon Rondo ended the third with a three-pointer from the corner that doubled that Lakers lead.
Rondo finished with 8 points and 10 assists, nine of his assists came in the first half. He capped off his first half with an alley-oop to LeBron James that gave the Lakers a ten point lead before the half.
“He [Rondo] just gives us some confidence,” Vogel said about Rondo’s season-high in assists. “He just helps our swag.”
Anthony Davis registered 34 points and 7 rebounds carrying the load in the first half. He had four steals and 19 points in the first half.
“When we play fast we’re a tough team to beat,” Davis told the media after the Lakers win. “Obviously we can’t do that if we don’t get stops and run.”
Overall, the Lakers defense was challenged by Thunder guard play. Dennis Schroder finished the first half with 20 points and three rebounds in only 15 minutes of action.
“Tough,” Schroder said about playing the Lakers a night after losing to the Lakers in the same building. “We’re in the NBA, we play against the best players in the world.”
Schroder finished with 31 points in 30 minutes off the bench.
The Thunder also got a big performance from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who finished with 16 points, 4 assists and five rebounds. He added 11 points in the first half too.
Gilgeous-Alexander would help the Thunder cut the lead to three and four within the final four minutes of the first half thanks to a three.
“I just don’t think we probably did enough in the game,” Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan said after his team’s loss.
Donovan added that his team made runs but transition, rebounding and closing out over segments added up and really cost his team. The Thunder were out rebounded by the Lakers 39 t0 46 and outscored in the paint 42 to 50.
Still, Nerlens Noel also added 15 points off the bench while forward Danilo Gallinari lead the Thunder in scoring for the night with 25.
“Not our best defensive performance but we did enough to get the W.” Vogel said after the team’s win. They outscored Oklahoma City 23 to 9 in fast break points but gave up 27 points off turnovers.
Otherwise, Kyle Kuzma left Tuesday Night’s game with an eye abrasion. Vogel said Kuzma was available in this game but he used his best judgement to hold Kuzma out because it looked bad.
The Lakers also honored a couple of USC students at halftime with an award in honor of Hearn as LeBron helped them protect their hold on the NBA’s best record.
Now, L.A. will look to polish up their defense even more with another game versus the Thunder, this time in Oklahoma City, on Nov. 22.
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