During the Los Angeles Lakers 124-115 win in Houston against the Rockets, LeBron James received MVP chants from the Houston crowd.
NBA fans might recall that before James signed with the Lakers, one of the teams rumored to be in the running for the four-time MVP was the Rockets. At the time, the Rockets had “banana boat” friend Chris Paul and pushed the Warriors to the brink of elimination. Insert James into a lineup of Paul and James Harden and there’s no shortage of offense.
So maybe the Houston crowd was feeling starry eyed about a performance that should’ve been done in a Houston jersey. But luckily for them, the Houston fans instead have Russell Westbrook jacking up 4.7 three-pointers a game at a 24% success rate.
In this game, James scored 31 points and dished 12 assists for the Lakers, after a loss on Wednesday night to Orlando, where the Lakers nine-game winning streak was ended.
With Anthony Davis out, the rest of the Lakers contributed. Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points and Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each scored 20 points.
The game had a playoff atmosphere to it, as both Westbrook and Davis were both given technical fouls for arguing with one another. Depending on playoff seeding, this could be a second-round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs.
The MVP chants from the away crowd gave James motivation, as the 17-year veteran is breaking norms by remaining durable and in his prime at an age where most athletes enter their washed years. James is now averaging 25.5 points, 10.9 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game, while leading the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference and enjoying a four-and-a-half game lead over the second seed.
For the Rockets, this season isn’t going as planned, with the team being the sixth seed. If the season ended today, their first-round matchup would be the Los Angeles Clippers. That’s not the team the Rockets want to see in the playoffs.