LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 50 points for the 15th time in his career and helped rally the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half to a 122-109 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
The 37-year old superstar became the oldest player to have multiple 50-point games in a season. Bernard King was the previous oldest to do it at 34 in 1990-91 with Washington.
“He’s really good at basketball, that LeBron James,” coach Frank Vogel said. “Just an incredible, unbelievable, epic performance. When he gets on a tear, try to leave him in as long as possible and make sure he has enough gas in the tank to finish.”
It is the second straight home game during which James has scored at least 50 and the third time he has done it with the Lakers. He had a season-high 56 in a win over Golden State last Saturday.
James is the first Lakers player since the late Kobe Bryant in 2008 to have back-to-back, 50-point home games.
“We just needed to pick our energy up and get more detailed about how we wanted to attack the Wizards. We did that, especially in the third quarter,” said James, who was 18 of 25 from the field and made six 3-pointers in 36 minutes. “I was able to hit a hot streak at one point. I just tried to stay in that zone as long as possible and hit a couple.”
James also had six rebounds and moved past Dikembe Mutombo into 12th place on the NBA’s career defensive rebounds list with 8,553.
James rallied the Lakers back with 12 straight points during a 22-8 run when they took an 82-75 lead with 2:25 remaining. James’ flurry included a thunderous dunk midway through the quarter to put Los Angeles up 73-70.
He then had 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers steadily pulled away. Los Angeles, which had dropped six of their last seven coming into the game, led by as many as 18 midway through the fourth.
Malik Monk scored 21 points and Talen Horton-Tucker added 15 for the Lakers.
Kyle Kuzma, who played for the Lakers for four seasons, led Washington with 23 points and rookie Corey Kispert scored a career-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers.
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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma, who were part of the Lakers’ 2020 NBA championship team, were given a video salute during the first timeout. Both players were traded to Washington during the offseason to acquire Russell Westbrook.
Caldwell-Pope struggled in his return to LA. He was 1 of 6 from the floor and only had four points. He also received a technical foul late in the first quarter.
Wizards: Washington had a 62-53 lead early in the third quarter before the Lakers made their run. … Rui Hachimura had 13 of his 15 points in the first half. … Kristap Porzingis had a season-high 14 rebounds along with 14 points. … Tomas Satoransky had 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Lakers: Westbrook had nine assists and passed Andre Miller for 11th on the career assists list. Westbrook has 8,529 in his 13-year career. … Austin Reaves had 12 points.
Wizards: Continue their four-game road trip at Portland on Sunday.
Lakers: Travel to Phoenix on Sunday.