The last two games of the lakers they were crushing

They were left in a state of despair both times. They were close matches The Lakers couldn’t win. The Lakers could still feel the sting from both losses.

But the beauty of the NBA is that there’s another day and another game, and that’s what the Lakers had to look forward to on Monday night when they took on the Houston Rockets at Crypto.com Arena.

This time, Lebron James refused to let the Lakers lose a game that was still too close against the young, energetic and talented Rockets, both teams playing the second of two straight games.

It took James to produce a season-high 48 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Lakers to pull off a 140-132win about the Rockets.

James scored 40 or more points for the third time this season, the 72nd time of his storied 20-year career during the regular season and the 100th time of his career, including the playoffs.

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“I could have easily taken tonight off, but I don’t think the momentum from our baseball club will help me take a night off tonight,” said James, who has been dealing with a sore ankle. “I don’t feel like I wanted to sit through that loss with Philly last night. I wanted to get that out of my taste buds and see if we win a ballgame tonight.”

James scored 20 points in the quarter, including four free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the game.

He was 16-for-26 from the field, 5-for-10 from 3-point range and 11-for-12 from the free throw line.

“I think it’s historic, man, on a lot of different levels.” Darvin Ham, Lakers coach said about the work of James. “For him to be at this point in his career and still be able to produce at the level that he’s producing at, I think all of us can really witness it, be a part of it. … And he shows the competitive spirit of him, his no-give-up mentality.”

The Rockets kept coming back behind the game of Alperen Sengun, who had 33 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high six assists.

But with the Lakers turning the ball over only twice, a franchise minimum, they were able to snap a three-game losing streak.

LeBron James wears a jersey celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during pregame warmups Monday.

LeBron James wears a jersey celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during pregame warmups Monday.

(Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)

“There are no easy nights in this league,” Ham said. “Happy to have been able to hold us for the 48 minutes.”

James scored 28 points when he took his first break in the third quarter with 3 minutes, 50 seconds left and the Lakers held a 95-81 lead that was cut to 102-98 late in the quarter, with James on the bench watching.

The Lakers lost a double-overtime game to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, a game LA thought some last-second calls should have gone well. The Lakers followed up with a last-second, one-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night, another game in which LA didn’t like the calls.

LeBron James scores off Houston's Kenyon Martin Jr. during the first half.

LeBron James scores off Houston’s Kenyon Martin Jr. during the first half.

(Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)

Laker LeBron James flexes his arm during a win over the Rockets

LeBron James flexes his arm during the second half of the Lakers’ victory on Monday.

(Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)

Despite all that, Ham didn’t want his team to feel sorry for themselves.

He did not want the Lakers to look back but forward for the next challenge.

“Just with that hammer, man, keep chipping at the rock. As I mentioned, it can be disappointing, but you have to get over that. You have to get it off your back,” Ham said before the game. You have another game you have to play tonight. That’s the great thing about this league, it doesn’t take long for you to feel sorry for yourself. And you also get a chance to hit the reset button and try to get it right. Just a bunch of great stuff that happened against some really top-tier talent in the last two games. But then again, just making plays, playing the right way, keeping that competitive edge, sticking together.

“I think we’re in a good place in terms of all of that. We just have to figure out how to finish games in this league.”

The Lakers had some feel-good moments that helped them forget about the two tough losses.

Kendrick Nunn provided the first, throwing a one-handed dunk on Houston’s Jalen Green in the first quarter to bring the crowd to its feet.

Then there were the exciting consecutive plays.

James grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast to coast, driving in a layup as Sengun fouled him. James stopped to pose for a few seconds, shouting to the cheering crowd, “I’m a…bad boy!”

On the next play, James grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast to coast for a dunk, then shook his head and more unprintable words came out of his mouth.

By sbavh

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