LOS ANGELES — LeBron James destroyed Nemanja Bjelica with a dunk in the first half on Friday. Obliterated him. Might as well have turned Bjelica’s No. 88 uniform on its side and sent him off to infinity, and beyond.
It was a career highlight reel-worthy throwdown for James on the same day he declared at shootaround that he, at 34, is like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, at 42: timeless.
“Me and Tom Brady are one in the same,” he said. “We’re going to play until we can’t walk no more.”
LeBron James muscles by Nemanja Bjelica along the baseline and drops in a layup while drawing a foul.
You see, Anthony Davis, whose first-half line of three shots and two rebounds was, well, even less productive than Bjelica’s, kind of made everything else that happened in the first 47 minutes and 57.7 seconds of game action somewhat irrelevant when he swatted away Harrison Barnes‘ potential game-tying shot just before the final buzzer.
“Barnes came to the basket and AD’s as good as anybody in the world at making that play,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Made a terrific play to save the game.”
Vogel wasn’t being hyperbolic. It was Davis’ fourth blocked shot of the game, a tick above his average of 3.0 blocks, which is both a career best and also the best average in the NBA, which happens to be the best basketball league in the world.
“Just try to go straight up, go vertical,” Davis said when asked what it’s like to be the only guy between the ball and the basket with the game on the line. “Try to make them finish through contact. And once I saw that the ball was low, I had a pretty good instinct of blocking the shot. So I just wanted to make sure I went vertical first and made it tough on him, and if he made the shot, he made it. But the most importa