LeBron James matched his season-high with 35 points and the Los Angeles Lakers handed the Portland Trail Blazers their sixth straight loss with a 107-95 victory in an In-Season Tournament game on Friday night.
Anthony Davis added 16 points and 14 rebounds, and the Lakers moved to 3-0 in Group A with the victory that counts toward the regular season.
“It’s an incentive for sure, this early in the season,” James said about the tournament. “We understand what’s at stake, that’s not saying we’re putting all our eggs in one basket in the In-Season Tournament.”
The Lakers led by as many as 17 points in the final quarter. Rui Hachimura’s 3-pointer put Los Angeles in front 97-83 with just over seven minutes left, sending fans to the exits.
James was listed as questionable with a calf contusion but he started and played with a sleeve on his calf, finishing with nine assists — seven of them in the fourth quarter. He also made five 3-pointers.
“He shot the ball extremely well tonight, he was in a great rhythm, especially from 3. Made some huge plays, big time shots for us, the kind that just slowed them down,” Davis said about James.
Los Angeles (7-6) kept its starters in until the end, because point differential matters in the group standings. The Lakers are the only undefeated Western Conference team in the tournament.