LeBron James edges closer to record

LOS ANGELES (Compton Bulletin) – The Lakers played a strong first half against the Sacramento Kings in a home game at Crypto.com Arena on Jan. 18. The Kings played a better half in the third and fourth quarters and came away with a nail-biting 116-111 win.  

After the game, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham made it clear what was it that cost his team getting the win.   

“The key ingredients to us not coming out with the ‘W’ is we gave up too many second-chance points early on,” Ham remarked. “We got up against the clock a little bit, little too much indecisiveness…It sucks to lose these close games.”

LeBron James closed the gap on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record with a 32-point performance. After his scoring outburst, James needed just 284 points to be the league’s all-time leader. The countdown to his record-breaking moment will continue for James now until sometime in February.  

In the meantime, as it relates to how the Lakers played against Sacramento, James dominated the court and passed his high energy to the rest of the team, despite the injuries to  Anthony Davis, Lonnie Walker IV, and Austin Reaves.

During the postgame press conference, James said the Lakers have “no room for error” due to the injuries on the team, and “just being aware” can help their offense in key moments.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) playiny defense against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 18, 2023. Photo courtesy of the Compton Bulletin
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) plays defense against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 18, 2023. Photo courtesy of the Compton Bulletin

Russell Westbrook helped James put up a solid fight against the Kings with 19 points, five assists and seven rebounds. During the fourth quarter with about five minutes to spare, a determined Westbrook tied the score at 103-103 as he broke through a wall of Sacramento players at the basket.

With Sacramento holding onto the lead by a thread, James was fouled and made his way to the free-throw line. The Kings lead 108-107 when James stepped up to the free-throw line. The energy of fans in the arena picked up considerably. The volume of fans screaming “MVP” for James was nerve-wracking and loud.

When asked about the amount of energy in the arena during the postgame interview session, James said he felt humbled by it.

“I’m just very appreciative that I’ve been in quite a few buildings in my career when I’ve heard MVP chants,” quipped James. “I think it’s very humbling…being able to put in the work and people appreciate what you bring to the table by the way you approach the game…I’m always trying to be as great as I can be every single night.”

Aside from the Lakers’ determined efforts, the Kings made it out on top in the end when a clear path foul was called against the Lakers. Sacramento officially closed the nerve-racking gap with free throws to seal the game.

Despite the tough loss, Ham, in his postgame interview, is staying positive and has hopes the Lakers will play up to their capabilities. 

“I still feel wholeheartedly that at some point we are going to break all the way through,” Ham said. “We are competing at a very high level… guys are doing their part; they are trying to step up and make plays…that’s all you can ask for is to be competitive and be together.”