Compared to how they’ve done on the road this season. The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled quite a bit this season at Staples Center. They had collected four of their losses so far this season.
But while it looked like the Denver Nuggets would again force the Lakers to feel the sting of a home loss early in Thursday night’s game. LeBron James delivered a dominant performance while the Lakers defense held down MVP contender. Nikola Jokic to his worst game of the season as L.A. beat Denver, 114-93.
James had 27 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds, his second triple-double of the season. While Jokic had 13 points on six of 16 shooting, both season lows for Denver’s star center.
The Lakers defense rarely allowed Jokic to isolate in the post, sending a second defender to his side.
Nikola Jokic is absolutely worthy of MVP buzz and if he gets votes, so be it. But tonight was yet another example that when the chips are down, LeBron James is still the best players in the league. LeBron’s team, while they currently are a half-game away from the best record in the league, is better than Jokic.
And although Anthony Davis will get much of the credit for the Lakers defense, LeBron has been a key part of the league’s No UFA. 1 defense in Defensive Rating coming into Thursday night, according to Basketball-Reference.
If the Lakers hold their pace, they will be a top-three defense for the second season in a row and James will once again be their leader offensively. Not to mention the fact James is shooting more three-pointers .
The MVP is not an age award. And while LeBron has racked up more memorable moments throughout the season for his team than any other competitor for the MVP. It’s not simply about his great narrative either.
If Thursday night is to be a preview of another Western Conference Finals, could you really sit there and ask yourself, if you voted for Jokic. He’s actually better at basketball, and therefore more valuable than No. 23?
In addition to dominating the action for the Lakers and leading them to a home victory. LeBron James made some more history in L.A.’s first game back in Staples Center in nearly two weeks.
With a basket in the first half of Thursday night’s win, James passed fellow Lakers legend Wilt Chamberlain for No. 3 on the NBA’s All-Time list for field goals made. James now only trails Karl Malone (13,528) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15,837) on the NBA’s All-Time list for made field goals.