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The Rundown: Lakers take another L, Booker gets 34 easy

February 23, 2021 , 4:00 PM ● Jon Carlos Rodriguez

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers lost their third straight game, while Devin Booker needed just three quarters to torch the Blazers with 34 points.

Scoreboard

  • Spurs-Pacers PPD
  • Bulls 120, Rockets 100
  • Mavericks 102, Grizzlies 92
  • Heat 108, Thunder 94 
  • Suns 132, Trailblazers 100
  • Jazz 132, Hornets 110
  • Wizards 127, Laker 120

What went down

Does LeBron James ever get tired? 

This is a question that’s valid to lob in Year 18 in the NBA and Year 36 on earth for LeBron. He certainly looked invincible with the fatigue slider turned off when he crossed Russell Westbrook and attacked the rim with 9 seconds left in overtime against the Washington Wizards. He hung in the air, was fouled, and made the game-tying basket.

But when he stepped on the line for the potential game-winner, LeBron front-rimmed the freethrow. (Cue Kyrie soundbite: “That’s your best free throw shooter?”) Signs of fatigue? Maybe. This was the Lakers’ fourth overtime game this month. Without his partner-in-crime Anthony Davis, LeBron has been carrying the load for the defending champs, and he was forced to play 43 minutes in this one.

The Lakers just failed to sustain their energy, squandering a big 17 point-lead in the first half. The Wizards, on the other hand, played the part of hungry-with-nothing-to-lose-team perfectly. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook—who combined for 65 of the Wizards’ 127 points—took control of the Wizards’ offense in OT, which probably made LeBron miss AD more.

The Lakers are now on a three-game losing streak and will face a determined Utah Jazz team next, still without AD and Dennis Schroder. If only LeBron can convert his Top Shot value to bring those two back ASAP.

Big-time baller

It’s never over until the final buzzer has buzzed. Unless Devin Booker says otherwise. Book needed only three quarters (and about 29 minutes of playing time) to do the following:

  • Score 34 points on 17 shots
  • Hit both 3-point attempts
  • Hit all eight free throw attempts
  • Add a couple more clips to the Devin Booker Ultimate Highlight Reel

Booker became the first Suns player to score at least 30 points with a 70-100-100 shooting split since Kevin Johnson did it in ’93.

The Phoenix Suns-Portland Trailblazers should’ve been a close game, one where Damian Lillard and Booker would one-up each other and exchange big shot after big shot in the final seconds. Instead, Booker got cooking right after tipoff (he dropped 17 points in the first quarter), drained a step-back 3 to end the third, and called it a day.

 

What he said

DeMarre Carroll saw an opening to bring up his beloved Atlanta Hawks and he took it.

 

Did you see that?

One of the special things that makes you want to watch every breathing second of every NBA game is moments like this: you (LaMelo Ball) can be only six years old when your defender (Mike Conley) was drafted, but when you get to score on him when you’re both pros, you’re allowed to taunt him with a “he’s too small.”

 

Another thing is that you (still LaMelo Ball) can bounce back and do that special thing moments after getting stuffed at the rim by a 7-footer (Rudy Gobert).

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