USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James delivered a dominant performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, but was it his best performance ever in L.A.? Let's explore the issue.
LeBron James delivered one of those "how could this guy not win MVP every year"-type performances at Staples Center on Thursday night, but it wasn't the first time LeBron has flat-out dominated the Lakers on the road. However, there's no doubt that this is his best effort in L.A. as a member of the Miami Heat.
King James used the TNT spotlight on Thursday night to throw down an array of break-away dunks on his way to a game-high 39 points. The 39-point outburst ranks as his second-highest total against the Lakers in L.A., and he did it on a crisp 17-25 shooting performance while adding eight assists and seven rebounds for good measure.
LBJ looked assertive and dominant at all points in the 99-90 win for the Heat, and his clear command of the contest automatically puts this game near the top of his career list for best L.A. performance.
Here are two other efforts from James that could possibly challenge that game for the top spot on his career list of impressive games in L.A.:
(1) Jan. 27, 2008 | Cavaliers 98, Lakers 95 | LeBron's line: 41 points on 16-32 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists. LBJ's career-high output in Los Angeles came in this game, so it's the obvious No. 1 challenger. What sets this performance apart is that Cleveland desperately needed strong play down the stretch, and James delivered. He tossed away two turnovers to start the fourth quarter, but after that point he ripped off 14 fourth-quarter points on 5-7 shooting -- including a stretch run where he scored nine of Cleveland's final 13 points to close out the victory. He also drilled the clinching shot in a isolation look from the left elbow area, with Kobe Bryant defending him.
(2) Feb. 15, 2007 | Cavaliers 114, Lakers 108 | LeBron's line: 38 points on 10-16 shooting and 18-22 free throws, four rebounds, three assists. James was a freight train in this game. He earned 22 free-throw attempts and willed a team that played Eric Snow 35-plus minutes (and Larry Hughes 41-plus minutes) to a big road win over Kobe (35 points) and the Lakers. As for the clutch factor, he attempted only one shot in the final period but earned 10 free throws and still posted 10 points for a team that shot 2-13 from the field aside from his bucket.
Jan. 21, 2010 | Cavaliers 93, Lakers 87 | LeBron's line: 37 points on 13-25 shooting, nine assists, five rebounds.
Dec. 25, 2010 | Heat 96, Lakers 80 | LeBron's line: 27 points on 8-14 shooting, 11 rebounds, 10 assists.