LeBron James decided to put up his most impressive performance of the season on Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Los Angeles Lakers star outscored his former team singlehandedly in the fourth quarter with 21 points to Cleveland’s 19. He ended the game with a season-high 46 points.
LeBron doesn’t typically have these massive scoring outbursts anymore but he had a little extra motivation thanks to a Cavaliers executive. The superstar missed a buzzer-beater shot to end the third quarter and the team’s basketball chief of staff Jason Hillman decided to get a little too enthusiastic. LeBron revealed that he “took that personal” and proceeded to dominate the game.
— Austin Boyd (@austincjboyd) January 27, 2021
Hillman learned very quickly that it’s probably not the best idea to taunt one of the greatest players in NBA history. At 36-years-old, it was very surprising to see LeBron dominate a fourth quarter the way he did against the Cavaliers. Not only did he have his most impressive performance of the year, but he also led the Lakers to a 115-108 win on the road.
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LeBron Said Hillman Was “Too Excited”
When LeBron left Cleveland the first time, there was a lot of animosity from the city and fan base. After he came back and won the team a championship, he got back in their good graces. When he decided to leave the team for the Lakers, there wasn’t much more of an uproar. However, LeBron didn’t appreciate the taunting from Hillman and put him on notice.
“I felt he was a little too excited about seeing me miss,” LeBron said after the game. “I knew I had another quarter and the fourth quarter is my favorite. It’s a good thing for him I only come here once.”
As LeBron pointed out, the Cavaliers rarely play against the Lakers but Hillman will probably keep to himself next time.
LeBron a Sneaky MVP Candidate
What LeBron is doing right now seems to defy logic. He’s leading the Lakers in points per game with 25.2 and assists with 7.4. He’s also averaging 7.9 rebounds a game. He was an MVP candidate last year but ended up finishing in second-place to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Nobody really thought LeBron would be able to sustain MVP candidacy in year 18, especially considering the shortened offseason.
Well, he’s appeared to prove everybody wrong once again. LeBron is still the best player in the league and he’s led the Lakers to the best record in the NBA so far. He also hasn’t missed a game yet. There’s never been a superstar who has been able to stay healthy and dominant for this long.
As of right now, LeBron has to be in the MVP race. According to CBS Sports, he’s second in the race behind Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid. Due to Embiid’s track record of not being able to stay healthy, it’s very possible LeBron overtakes him before the season is over. It’s highly unlikely Giannis is the mix again. No player has won three MVP awards in a row since Larry Bird did it from 1984 to 1986. If Embiid falls off, LeBron could end up winning the award for the fifth time in his career.