Don’t be distracted by LeBron James’ Christmas hijinks.
The King is just as good as ever.
James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 138-115 Christmas win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, giving LA a bounce-back win after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, and sending Dallas to 0-2 on the season in the process.
Here are the key takeaways from Game 4 of the NBA’s Christmas Day schedule.
1. The King loves Christmas
James’ 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds not only propelled LA to a win on Friday, but he launched himself into a tie with future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade for the most wins on Christmas.
All-time, LBJ is now 10-5 on Dec. 25, and in addition to tying Wade for the most Christmas wins, he passed Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson for the second-most points scored on Christmas in NBA history.
The late Kobe Bryant scored 395 points in 16 Christmas Day games, and James now sits just six points behind the Black Mamba.
2. Sixth Man extraordinaire
It’s only been two games, but the play of Montrezl Harrell signals that the reserve big man is looking to defend his Sixth Man of the Year crown with the purple and gold LA team.
In two games, Harrell is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in 30.0 minutes, and he was as efficient as ever on Friday, connecting on 10-of-13 from the field.
He is shooting 81.3 percent from the field so far this year, after shooting 58.0 percent from the field last season, good for ninth in the NBA.
While Harrell faced competition for the award from his own teammate last season – Clippers backup guard Lou Williams was named Sixth Man of the Year in both 2018 and 2019 – he could be in for a intrasquad battle this year as well, this time with fourth year Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma finished Friday with 13 points, after scoring 15 points against the Clippers on Tuesday.
One thing looks to be working in Harrell and Kuzma’s favor, however – Dennis Schroder, who finished second in Sixth Man voting last season, is now a member of the Lakers and has started LA’s first two games of the season.
Schroder is averaging 16.0 points and 7.0 assists per contest so far.
However, the most important aspect of Harrell’s game on Friday wasn’t his shooting touch.
It was all about his shoe touch.
Bless up, Montrezl.
3. Love for Luka
Through two games, Luka Doncic – favored by FOX Bet to win the regular season MVP in 2021 – is doing his thing, averaging 29.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
However, Dallas is 0-2, and though it’s early in the season, both of their losses are to Western Conference playoff contenders in Phoenix and the Lakers.
And with a season reduced to 72 games instead of 82, there is a little more pressure to earn wins early and often.
Doncic and the Mavs have enforcements coming in the form of big man Kristaps Porzingis, who has been out for several months due to meniscus surgery.
He is expected to return to the lineup in the new year.
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