LOS ANGELES, USA – LeBron James had a triple-double in his first home win, but the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player gave props to tormentor-turned-teammate Lance Stephenson.
Stephenson finished with 12 points, but more importantly, he hit back-to-back three-pointers in the 4th quarter to spark a 15-2 run as Los Angeles rallied to a 121-114 victory against the previously unbeaten Denver Nuggets.
"Make 'em dance Lance. He was unbelievable coming off what he did last night," said James. "We picked up where we left off and got this win."
The teammates had a long antagonizing history with then Pacer Stephenson even once caught blowing into James’ ear to distract him. (READ: Lance-LeBron Lakers team-up: ‘It’s actually funny’)
James had 28 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds to notch his first triple-double as a Laker Thursday, October 25 (Friday, October 26, Manila time) at the Staples Center. (READ: LeBron notches first Laker triple-double in 2nd win)
"We got stops. They are one of the best offensive teams we have in this league and when you do that you are able to get out and run," said James, who posted his 74th career triple-double.
. @StephensonLance, Shake. Bake. Make. pic.twitter.com/EAfIK1hoj6 — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 26, 2018
It was the Lakers' second win in two days after struggling to a 0-3 start to the season.
Kyle Kuzma scored 22 points and JaVale McGee added 21 in support of James' triple-double – his first with his new team.
With Kobe Bryant watching from the stands for the first time since James's arrival in Los Angeles, the former Cleveland Cavalier James brought the Staples Center crowd to their feet with a go-ahead dunk with 3:31 to play.
Lance Stephenson sets up LeBron on the move! @Lakers have taken a 110-108 lead on @NBAonTNT #LakeShow #KiaTipOff18 pic.twitter.com/mBfNLDMltS — NBA (@NBA) October 26, 2018
Nikola Jokic scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who were off to their best start since the 2009-10 season.
The Lakers won despite playing without suspended starters Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo. Ingram will miss one more game for his part in the Lakers' melee with the Houston Rockets last weekend, while Rondo returns Saturday in San Antonio.
"We have gotten better through all of our games and we want to try to continue that against San Antonio on Saturday," said James. – Rappler.com