LeBron James had a season-high 48 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in his third 40-point performance since turning 38 less than three weeks ago, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a three-game skid with a 140-132 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 for the Lakers, who never pulled away in another poor defensive game. James’ brilliance in the 100th 40-point outing of his career — including the postseason — was just enough to hold off NBA-worst Houston.
Houston has lost 16 of 17 over the past five weeks, dropping into last in the overall NBA standings at 10-34. At least the Rockets are only just past halfway to the franchise record of 20 straight losses just two seasons ago.
James scored his 38,000th career point Sunday night, and he showed no ill effects while playing in back-to-back games despite the sore left ankle that has dogged him for weeks. After carrying the depleted Lakers for long stretches punctuated by fierce dunks and five 3-pointers, James hit a 17-foot jumper and four free throws in the final minute to preserve the Lakers’ win.