LeBron James ‘takes over’ again as Lakers outlast Clippers

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LOS ANGELES — Midway through the Los Angeles Lakers’ 130-125 overtime win over the LA Clippers on Wednesday — with LeBron JamesGame time is already close to 40 minutes — Austin Reeves had a decision to make.

Storming the court by stealing the ball from the fastbreak Kawhi LeonardReaves can try to finish to the basket himself or involve his 38-year-old teammate James.

“At no point after I got that ball did I think I was going to shoot it,” Reaves said. “I saw him and I was going to cross the whole path.”

It wasn’t just any pass. Reaves threw an alley-oop over his shoulder, and the hard-charging James sank it home to put the Lakers up by five with 2:12 left. That prompted the Clippers to call a timeout and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

“I have a sense that I can throw it anywhere and he’ll take it,” Reaves said of James. “That’s the crazy part with how long he’s been playing.”

After finishing with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists in 42 minutes, James added: “I’m happy that I’m still at this point in my career. I mean, she trusted me to get it. So I wanted to go there.”

The dunk capped a dominant finish in the game for the four-time MVP, who played a key role in the Lakers scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to snap an 11-game losing streak against the Clippers, going 6-for-8 from the field. Doing so.

“I mean, he took over,” Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said of James.

The win improved the Lakers’ record to 3-2 and James continued to come up clutch in late game situations. He scored 51 points in the fourth quarter (10.2 points per game) and overtime this season, shooting 21-for-31 from the field (68%).

“If we close the game, I feel like the fourth quarter, that’s when I’m at my best,” James said. “If the game is close, I can make plays to help us win ballgames, no matter who’s out on the floor for us.”

While LA has been hit by the injury bug early on, with The Taurian Prince (Left knee soreness) Wednesday and joined as a late scratch Rui Hashimura (injury protocol), Gabe Vincent (left knee swollen) and Jared Vanderbilt (Left heel bursitis) Repair, James Pick Pick.

“He’s been phenomenal down the stretch,” he said Anthony Davis, who had another strong outing in his own right with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. “I think so [the coaching staff is] Banking minutes early and then late [James] Just kind of flowed through the fourth quarter.”

In fact, the alertness that comes with late-game brilliance James regularly follows the team’s playing time guidelines, limiting him to 28-30 minutes a night.

Through five games, he’s played 35.6 minutes a night, up slightly from the 35.5 he played last season.

“We’ll do a good job of having a season where we’re in the wheelhouse where we want to be,” James said. “Once we get healthy, that will definitely help.”

With more options available to him, Lakers coach Derwin Hamm said he would reduce James’ playing time as he aimed to keep him as fresh as possible for the playoffs.

For now, the group is content to locate James by taking him to their home.

“He just doesn’t prepare to be available and be another body on the floor,” Hamm said. “He’s ready to be at a high, high level. Not just available, available and elite. So kudos to him.”

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