LeBron scores 35 points, Lakers remain at the top of the NBA In-Season Tournament group

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (right) shoots at Portland Trail Blazers forward Toumani Camara during the first half of an intraseason tournament basketball game in Portland, Oregon, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

PORTLAND, Ore. — LeBron James set a season-high with 35 points and the Los Angeles Lakers handed the Portland Trail Blazers their sixth straight loss with a 107-95 victory in intraseason tournament play on Friday night.

Anthony Davis added 16 points and 14 rebounds, and the Lakers moved into Group A with a 3-0 record after a victory that counts in the regular season.

Jerami Grant scored 24 points for Portland. With the loss, the Blazers dropped to 1-2 in the tournament and were eliminated from the chance to win their group.

In the last quarter, the Lakers led by as many as 17 points. Rui Hachimura’s three-pointer gave Los Angeles a 97-83 lead with just over seven minutes remaining, sending the fans to the exits.

James was listed as questionable with a calf injury, but started the game with a calf sleeve, finishing with nine assists.

Los Angeles kept its starters in the game until the end as point differential counts in the group standings.

The Lakers led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and took a 30-23 lead in the second quarter. The team increased to 54-40 after a three-pointer by D’Angelo Russell, and went into the break with a 60-50 lead.

Jerami Grant’s three-pointer and free throw for Portland cut the lead to 63-60 early in the third period. The Blazers were close 68-67 on a Skylar Mays 3.

Russell finished with 14 points for the Lakers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped after a 125-110 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Deandre Ayton had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers.

Trying to rebuild after the offseason departure of All-Star Damian Lillard, Portland was plagued by injuries, with point guard Anfernee Simons (right thumb), rookie Scoot Henderson (right ankle) and Malcolm Brogdon (left hamstring) absent. .

“We are so young. A lot of times, even in our walk-throughs and shootarounds, we spend most of our time talking about our concepts or things we want to do, and some of our time is spent on the Lakers or the Grizzlies or whoever,” coach Chauncy Billups said. “We’re still learning a lot.”

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Lakers: Host the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Trail Blazers: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.


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