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LeBron James: “We’re a veteran ball club and we know we didn’t play our best basketball”

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Lesbron James

LeBron James scored 22 points (7/17 FG, 3/8 3PT, 5/6 FT) and dished out 11 assists, with eight rebounds leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 125-120 road victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. The Lakers improved to 39-12, while the Warriors fell to12-41. After the game, James talked on LAL’s performance:

LeBron James, Lakers Top Warriors as Andrew Wiggins Drops 24 in Debut

Colleage and Lesbron James

The Los Angeles Lakers spoiled Andrew Wiggins’ Golden State Warriors debut with a 125-120 win on Saturday at San Francisco’s Chase Center.

Anthony Davis scored 27 points to lead seven Lakers who scored in double-digits. He also pitched in 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals.

LeBron James added a 22-point, 11-assist double-double, and Avery Bradley scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Wiggins had 24 points and five steals in 32 minutes in his first game in a Warriors uniform after the Minnesota Timberwolves traded him as part of a deal that sent D’Angelo Russell the other way. Marquese Chriss led the Dubs with 26 on 12-of-15 shooting.

The Warriors were without Draymond Green, who sat with lower back tightness, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

The 39-12 Lakers maintained their hold on first place in the Western Conference. The 12-41 Warriors lost their second straight.

Notable Performances

Lakers G/F LeBron James: 22 PTS, 11 AST, 8 REB

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis: 27 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST

Lakers G Avery Bradley: 21 PTS, 4 REB, 2 STL

Warriors F Andrew Wiggins: 24 PTS, 5 STL, 3 AST

Warriors C Marquese Chriss: 26 PTS, 9 REB, 2 BLK

Warriors G Ky Bowman: 7 PTS, 10 AST, 2 REB

Andrew Wiggins Enjoys Successful Warriors Debut

The Warriors may not have gotten a win on Saturday, but they fought hard en route to a five-point loss against the Western Conference’s best team. And they did that without the versatile Draymond Green.

Wiggins played a big role in this game staying competitive until the end thanks to his 24 points on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting clip (3-of-4 from three-point range).

He splashed a shot from the corner in the first quarter to bring the Warriors within one:

He also coasted through the Lakers defense for an easy two:

Wiggins showed no fear against big man and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Anthony Davis, absorbing the harm before the hoop:

The forward was the team’s de facto star player on Saturday with the team missing Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but that won’t be the case when all four are together on the court next season.

“Minnesota needed him to be a star,” head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Friday, per Drew Shiller of Warriors Outsiders. “And we’re not asking him to be a star. We’re asking him to play a role on a team that already has some star players.”

Kerr also noted that he fits the team from a positional standpoint.

“Positionally he fits a spot that we don’t have anymore,” Kerr said, per 95.7 The Game. “We’re confident here that we’ve got an environment that is conducive to players, getting the most out of their ability.”

Wiggins entered the league with a mountain of expectations after being drafted first overall in 2014. Nicknamed “Maple Jordan,” the Canadian-born player out of Kansas University was expected to help the Wolves rediscover the kind of success they had when Kevin Garnett was running the show.

That never happened, as Wiggins won just one playoff game in a Wolves uniform as a running partner alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.

But perhaps Wiggins is ultimately best suited to an environment like Golden State’s, where he can adequately fill a role and not be called upon to put the team on his back.

Wiggins still had a heavy burden Saturday and fared well, but there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic about his Bay Area future. He’s still a talented player who can easily drop 20 points a game and serve as an excellent complementary scoring and playmaking capacity, a la Khris Middleton on the Milwaukee Bucks.

Of course, Middleton has enjoyed far more team success than Wiggins, but perhaps a change in scenery is what he needed.

Avery Bradley Shines As Complement to James, Davis

All Lakers not named Anthony Davis or LeBron James seemingly take turns having nights well above their statistical norms to complement the team’s big two.

Sometimes, Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee may pull down a casual double-double with a handful of blocks. Or maybe Kyle Kuzma springs for 25 or more points.

Avery Bradley was that player on Saturday, with his 21 points occurring thanks in part to 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range.

Eleven of those points occurred in the first quarter, helping the Lakers take a 33-25 lead into the second.

He hit a trio of threes during the first before finishing with two more, prompting Lakers reporter Mike Trudell to share this statistic:

Bradley’s efforts proved to be timely on a night where the Warriors surprised and lost by just five. If not for his performance, the Lakers may have been on the wrong end of a massive upset.

But Bradley came through with a much-needed scoring effort en route to helping give the Lakers their West-best 39th win.

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