LOS ANGELES — The night before Lebron James scored a season-high 37 points, including the go-ahead free throw with 1.9 seconds left, and logged 40 minutes to lead the Lakers about him Houston Rockets 105-104 On Sunday I had something to get off my chest.

It was a rare night off for the 38-year-old, with his team in the midst of a streak of six games in nine days, and he took a break from playing Madden NFL 24 to make a post on his Instagram Story.

He shared a graph showing how his 35 points against the Portland Trail Blazers Friday was the 108th time he surpassed the 30-point mark since signing with Los Angeles as a free agent in 2018.

“But I only came here to make movies!” James wrote, referring to the ridicule he received when he moved away. cleveland. “That’s not what you said right!?!?”

Why did you choose that moment to respond to criticism?

“Because sometimes you need to remind people,” James said Sunday after the win over the Rockets.

He reminded his teammates that he can still get up in the air, ending a drive with a thunderous dunk midway through the quarter that put Los Angeles up by seven and prompted Houston to call a timeout.

“They’ve been joking about me, saying I put the ball up too much when I have an open lane,” James said with a satisfied smile. “So I’m trying to change that narrative as well.”

He recalled armchair coaches questioning why he would move to an open. reddish cam with the game on the line early in the season, he will continue to find the open man in crunch time, as he did in setting up Austin Reaves for a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24.2 seconds left to put Los Angeles up 103-100.

It reminded him of the Rockets Dillon Brookswho has become a willing agitator of your in recent seasons, to rattle the cage at your own risk, as James scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter on 5-of-6 shooting.

“That’s competition,” James said of Brooks, who, in the third quarter, caused a technical foul on James by filling his space and causing an elbow and, in the fourth, caused James will make a gesture “too small” after scoring him in the paint. “Those young people get me going. So I need it.”

And James reminds himself why he still wants to play in the NBA, with his financial future and professional achievements already secured.

“I’m just trying to push the limit,” he said. “Look how far I can take this. I don’t know. I mean, it’s me against Father Time.”

James now has 109 games with 30 or more points as a Laker and surpassed the Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on another historical list while you’re at it. James has 237 career games with 35 points or more, eclipsing Bryant’s 236, ranking third all-time behind him. Wilt Chamberlain (381) and Michael Jordan (333).

James did it while making 14 of 19 field goals (73.7%), while continuing what would be the most efficient season he has ever played if he keeps this up. James is now shooting 58.6% overall for the season through 13 games, which is better than his career-best year with the Miami Heat in 2013-14, when it shot 56.7%. His 39.7% from 3-point range is also not far off from the career-best 40.6% he posted with Miami in 2012-13.

“I’ve been able to be on the court a lot more on off days this year due to past injuries the last two years to my foot or whatever the case may be,” James told ESPN. “So being able to focus on everything I need to do instead of having to get up unless we’re playing has allowed me to keep up.

“I got my bounce back, my recovery, my fast twitch and things of that nature.”

“The only thing special about Bron is that I’ve never seen him in a bad mood. He always has energy. He’s the oldest player in the NBA, but he still acts like he’s 20 every day.”

Lakers guard Austin Reaves

Apparently, he too has regained his spirit. After finishing his twentieth season being eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets and openly contemplating retirement, followed by a summer in which his eldest son, Bronny JamesAlthough he suffered cardiac arrest, his joy for the game has been unmistakable this season.

“The only thing special about Bron is,” Reaves said, “I’ve never seen him in a bad mood. He always has energy. He’s the oldest player in the NBA, but he still acts like he’s 20 every day.”

He did it on Sunday with Bronny in the building hours after the USC freshman was able to participate in your team’s pregame warm-ups for the first time this season.

“I looked over at one point and saw Bronny sitting on the court too, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’ve got to turn it up a little bit more,'” James said.

Turning up the volume and turning back time.

“He was outstanding,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “The LeBron we’ve all come to know and love over these 21 years.”

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