The “washed-up” LeBron James was at it again. Emphasis on the quotation marks.
LeBron came up big—surprise, surprise—for the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of their first round series against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. The King looked like he was having fun out there, making acrobatic plays and dishing to teammates all game. His performance appeared to be a vintage one, prompting Lakers reserve Jared Dudley to make an obvious declaration.
King is back!!!!!!!!!!!
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) May 28, 2021
Emphasis on the exclamation point/s.
As the NBA champion Dudley implied, LeBron looked like he wasn't bothered by his high-ankle sprain in leading the Lakers to a convincing 109-95 drubbing of the Suns to take a 2-1 lead in their matchup. LBJ did most of the damage in the second half, particularly in the third quarter, where he and Anthony Davis teamed up for 28 points to erect a huge lead they never relinquished.
Some concerns simmered after the Lakers lost to the Suns in Game 1, with LeBron looking as energetic as a wet tissue. But it seems he just gauged their young opponents to gauge their chances. Too conspiracy-ish? At this point in his career, nothing is outlandish for LBJ.
At 465786 years old, LeBron clearly doesn't have the same explosiveness and strength as he had before. He doesn't bully opponents into submission. But on Thursday, it sure looked like he did, even appearing to mock Jae Crowder's defense in one play in the fourth quarter.
The King finished with 21 points, six rebounds, and nine assists in a slow-paced game marred by ejections of Crowder and Devin Booker.
In the end, LeBron James and Jared Dudley combined for 21 points, six rebounds, and nine assists.