Playing next to Russell Westbrook, Malik Monk, Avery Bradley, and Stanley Johnson, The King filled in for the ever-injured Anthony Davis and slid to the five for the first time in his career.
The result? 32 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, and 3 three-pointers on 57.9% shooting for James, helping his team end a five-game skid with a 132-123 win over the decimated Houston Rockets.
LeBron James Addresses Playing At The Five Without Anthony Davis
James, who had barely played at the five for a couple of minutes during small-ball sets, talked the media to address his provisional position, and even he was surprised of what he was able to accomplish:
“Tonight called for me to start at center, and I just tried to be ahead of a lot of plays,” LeBron said after the game, as quoted by ClutchPoints. “I never played center in my life. I’ve always been on the wing or handling the ball. I was a skinny, lanky kid growing up.”
“LeBron’s plus-minus at the 5 is so ridiculous right now,” said interim coach David Fizdale. “To have guys out with COVID and stuff like that, I just took a gamble and said, ‘You know, I think that tonight’s the night to start him at 5.'”
James Says He's In The Zone Right Now
Even though the Lakers have been bottom-feeders as of late, LeBron is having one of the best offensive moments of his career, leading the league in 30+ point games despite playing only 23 games this season:
“I just feel like I’m in a really good offensive zone right now,” James said. “I can play any type of basketball game … this is year 19 for me, and I’ve been successful at the offensive end my whole career. If it’s a game that calls for a big line up I can be successful. If it (calls for) a small lineup, I can be successful.”
James should be in the MVP conversation again but the Lakers haven't done him any favors in that regard. Hopefully, they'll be able to turn things around once they get healthy, as they're wasting one of the final years of his career.