His performance in a double-overtime win over the Pistons on Saturday was a prime example. James logged 46:29 of playing time, scoring 33 points on 13-for-26 shooting, adding 11 assists and five rebounds.
In the second overtime, as Detroit—which dealt the Lakers a loss back on January 28—was sticking with the Lakers and possibly in position to force a third overtime, James stepped in. Ahead by a count of 128-124, with 34 seconds to play and only four seconds on the shot clock, James knocked in a 3-pointer, his second in the previous 45 seconds. The shot gave L.A. a three-score lead and essentially put the game away for the Lakers.
After making the 3, James walked to the other end of the floor, shaking his head and waving off the action with his hand.
“I was just ready to go,” James explained later. “I’m 36 years old, and … my heart is not sustainable for two overtimes at this point in my career. I’ve got a bottle of wine at home ready to be opened, and I delayed it for two overtime periods.”
ICE. COLD. KING. 👑❄️
— NBA (@NBA) February 7, 2021
Lakers Played Sloppy Again vs. Pistons
The win kept the Lakers from a season sweep at the hands of the Pistons, who are 5-18 and were playing without Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose (who was traded to New York on Sunday). It was a sloppy game, though, as the Lakers committed 23 turnovers and gave up a 17-point lead to land in a double-overtime dogfight.
“I don’t there were too many frustrating parts in the game,” James said after. “There’s things we know we could have done some things better. But we played some good basketball. Listen, we bring out the best in the Pistons. They’ve had two really game vs. us. They had another good one tonight. We give our credit where credit is due. They played well. But we got enough stops and we made enough shots to win the game.”
LeBron James Excelling From the 3-Point Line
James has made at least two 3-pointers in each of his last seven games, and now boasts a 3-point average of 41.0%, a career-high. Only once has he finished above 40% from the 3-point line, in 2012-13 when he was with the Heat. He won MVP that season.
James has gotten more comfortable using the step-back 3-pointer, which was how he scored his final two baskets in overtime.
“I am not quite sure when I felt comfortable enough with it to be able to go to it late in games but just always trying to get my game better, always trying to improve my game,” he said. “A lot of guys, a lot of teams give me space on my 3-point shots because they’re afraid of the drive. So I have the confidence that I can knock those down and tonight was another case.”