LeBron James Adamantly Refuses to Let Anthony Davis’ Return Take Away From His Scorching-Hot Scoring Streak: ‘I Don’t Plan on Stopping It’

The last time LeBron James averaged at least 29.0 points per game during a season was in 2009-10 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, and a washed-up Shaquille O’Neal were the next-best players on that team.

James is averaging exactly 29.0 points for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but his offensive explosion began when his running mate Anthony Davis went down with a sprained MCL. So, with Davis potentially returning to the lineup soon, it’s reasonable to wonder whether James will intentionally try to take a step back in regards to scoring the basketball.

But it appears that’s not the case.

Sure, Davis provides much more help than Williams, Jamison, and O’Neal did during the respective stages of their careers in 2010, but The King isn’t just going to stop scoring.

LeBron James has been on an unreal scoring streak for the Lakers

No one expected LeBron James to score more points this year than he had in a season since he was 25, but he has continued proving age is just a number for the Lakers.

The 37-year-old James is averaging 29.0 points and shooting 51.8% from the field. He’s also making 35.5% of his nearly 8.0 three-point attempts per game. In case you’re wondering, he averaged 29.7 points in 2009-10 on 50.3% shooting. He also made just 33.3% of his 5.1 long-range attempts per game.

LeBron has essentially had to take on the scoring load with Davis out, as the Lakers are struggling to string together a consistent run of solid basketball. In the 17 games AD has missed, James is averaging 32.5 points on 53.4% shooting. But LA is 7-10 in those contests and just 23-24 on the season, which has led to people like Charles Barkley calling out team management.

However, according to ESPN‘s Dave McMenamin, Davis — who has reportedly been working on his game while sidelined — could return as early as Jan. 25. So, James’ hot streak will likely simmer down a bit.

Or will it?

LeBron James doesn’t plan on slowing down when Anthony Davis returns

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who doesn't plan to slow his hot scoring streak down once Anthony Davis returns.
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers prior to facing the Houston Rockets on Dec. 28, 2021. | Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Lakers lost in a tough game against one of the NBA’s best teams on Jan. 23, falling to the Miami Heat 113-107. LeBron James scored 33 points in the game, and, with Anthony Davis’ return on the horizon, he received a question afterward about his scoring load.

“I don’t need to score 30 a night, but I’m in one of the best zones offensively I’ve been in in my career, and I don’t plan on stopping it,” he said, per Spectrum SportsNet. “That’s just how I feel. I feel fantastic. Shooting the ball extremely well from the field. I didn’t shoot the three-ball well tonight, but all eight of them felt great. Shooting efficient from the free-throw line, I’m shooting efficient from the field, very efficient at the rim.”

He continued: “I don’t go into the game saying, ‘Oh, you gotta score 30, or you guys don’t have a chance to win.’ I just play the game, and the scoring has just been happening organically. So, workload? I don’t know; I was 18 years old, saving a franchise. So, I don’t understand.”

Well, that sounds like someone who plans to keep attacking, no matter who’s in the lineup. But whether he still aggressively tries to put the ball in the basket or not, James should at least feel a little less pressure once Davis returns.

Anthony Davis’ return could be the spark the Lakers need

The Lakers need as much help as they can get. They are in the eighth spot in the Western Conference and just 2.5 games ahead of the last seed in the play-in tournament.

And while LeBron James has been incredible with Anthony Davis out, his teammates have been mediocre, to say the least. Russell Westbrook, who coach Frank Vogel benched during a game last week, is averaging just 17.2 points on 40.9% shooting since AD’s injury, and the team is allowing 115.29 points per game defensively. That’s more than their season average of 112.7, which is No. 27 in the entire NBA.

Having Davis in the lineup will certainly help LA on the offensive end. He’s a career 23.8 points per game scorer and was recording 23.3 points per night before going down. However, he will also help defensively. Davis is a four-time All-Defensive Team honoree and three-time blocks champ. He was also averaging 2.0 blocked shots per game before his injury.

All in all, getting a talent like Davis back in the lineup should certainly help the Lakers turn things around (at least) a little bit. And if James continues to play at the level he has been playing at (it looks like he’s planning on it), LA could be difficult to stop.

AD’s return could be the spark the Lakers need.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference

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