LOS ANGELES – LeBron James on Friday destroyed Nemanja Bjelica with a dunk in the first half. He humiliated him. They may also have turned on Bjelica's uniform no. 88 in turn and sent him to infinity and beyond.
It was a sign of a career that was worthy of a twist on James the same day he shot to say he was like 34 England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 42: timeless.
"Tom Brady and I are one and the same," he said. "We play until we can go no further."
But after the Los Angeles Lakers' 99-97 win over Sacramento Kings to bring the Los Angeles record to 10-2, there was no question of James for the Jam.
You see, Anthony Davis, whose first line of three strokes and two rebounds was, well, even less productive than Bjelica's, kind of did everything else that happened in the first 47 minutes and 57.7 seconds of the action game something unimportant. when the visiting goalie tied the game at Harrison Burns just before the last buzz.
"Barnes came into the basket and AD is as good as anybody in the world in making this game," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. "We made a beautiful play to save the game."
Vogel was not hyperbolic. It was Davis' fourth blocked shot of the game, a tick over his 3.0-block average, which is both career and also the best average in the NBA, which is going to be the best basketball league in the world.
"Just try to go upright, go upright," Davis said when asked what it was like to be the only man between the ball and the basket with the line play. "Try to make them finish through contact. And as soon as I saw the ball go low, I had a pretty good blocking instinct. So I just wanted to make sure I went vertically first and did it tightly on him, and if he did "He did it, he did it. But the most important thing I didn't try to do was wrong."
Not a single whistle was blown, though it appeared Barnes was captured by James when he made his move around the perimeter, and Davis' body appeared to be in contact with Barnes before firing the shot.
The latest NBA two-day report could back up some King's claims that referees have done something wrong. Keeper Buddy Shield went so far as to say, "I think he stole from us."
But as it stands, it was the latest in Davis' eight-year career, blocking a shot that could tie the game or take the lead for an opponent, according to an ESPN Stats & Information survey. Ends a dominant night for Davis on defense. The Kings shot just 2-of-11 from the field of shots they contested.
"That's what is special about him," Vogel said. "He can only influence that game, even if he does not go on the offensive or they get into trouble. It wasn't exactly that he had a night off, but they doubled each time he touched it. to influence the game like he did on the other end of the floor, it just shows what a special player he is. "
On one night when he finished with a season-high five rebounds and scored less than 20 points for only the second time since entering the Lakers (he finished with 17 points on a 5-for-12 shooting), Davis was still as influential as anyone on the floor. named LeBron.
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"When the impact doesn't come down, I'm trying to do other things to help the team win," Davis said. "And the team was trying to get me out, just missing a few shots. And he tried to get it out on the defensive end, making plays for my team and making sure the other team didn't score. Just do it for it "
Ames finished with 29 points and 11 assists and went 7-of-7 from the free throw line, including two in a row with 5.5 seconds remaining to finally give Los Angeles the lead.
Of course, James got some love for his team-mates in the first half:
"I was waiting for one of those … Eventually it will happen," said guard Alex Caruso. “When you think of LeBron, you think of ghosts. He's gone crazy today, ”said forward Kyle Kuzma. "I saw the tape and put it on his head … That's what LeBron does," Davis said.
But James transferred his sting to Davis, as Brady found an open receiver.
"AD can protect the perimeter and the color," James said. "He's a hybrid, he has the athletic ability to stay in front of the guards on the perimeter. His ability to keep big scribbles in the workplace, so if they publish, he can do it. I believe I take that challenge, too, having the opportunity keeping the quickest guards on the perimeter and the big guys when we get into the workplace – being able to keep my ground and being able to get them to make tough shots. Having that kind of luxury is key to our team. "