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LeBron James joins Michael Jordan with another 40-point showing

LeBron James joins Michael Jordan with another 40-point showing

NEW YORK – Few players have played basketball as long as LeBron James, and the 39-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star continues to maintain that no one has done it better at his age.

James scored 40 points in Los Angeles' 116-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, joining Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to score 40 or more points in multiple games after the age of 39. James has now done so twice; Jordan, who played until he was 40, did so three times.

The 21-year-old veteran went 13-for-17 from the floor and made a career-high in 3s, going 9-for-10 from deep.

“You don't have to lean at all [3-pointers] “Because I can do so much — I can score at basically any level on the floor just by crossing half court,” James said of his improved shooting skills in the latter stages of his career. “But being able to have a growth mindset and being able to work on the things that the league is changing to, the league is a 3-point shooting heavy league.

“I'm not one of those guys that wants to go out there and shoot 12, 14, 15 3-pointers every game. But I want to be respected, and teams have to play me on the outside. It's still kind of one thing for teams.” [think] “If we have to give up something, we prefer to shoot the ball from the outside.”

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Brooklyn wasn't necessarily giving James open looks. The Lakers star has gotten hot, making almost everything vomit from beyond the arc. He saved his best for last, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter on 5-for-6 shooting (4-for-4 from 3) to close out the game after the Nets cut Los Angeles' 26-point lead to a mere eight with 11:42 remaining.

“It's unbelievable,” Lakers coach Darvin Hamm said. “I told him in the huddle before his last practice and we eventually replaced him [that I was] Just so thankful he packed his head for the road trip. “I needed all nine of those three.”

The win moved Los Angeles to 3-1 on its six-game road trip, which concludes Tuesday and Wednesday with back-to-backs against the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards. The Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference with seven games remaining in the regular season — one game behind the seventh-place Phoenix Suns.

Easter's shooting display raised James' 3-point percentage to 41.6% this season, the best of his career.

“The people he was shooting at didn't hit the rim,” Anthony Davis said. “It's always great to watch. I mean, most points in NBA history, you know? And he just keeps adding to it. But the way he shot it tonight, it was brilliant.”

James shot just 32.1% from 3 last season. He said the injury he suffered in February — a torn tendon in his right foot — prevented him from working on his shooting rhythm as much in practice and time between games.

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“My feet felt a lot better,” James said. “I didn't have a lot of time to do a lot of training last year because I had to make sure I could be on the floor and run or jog [not] Put my feet firmly on the ground. I've had plenty of opportunities to stand my ground. You'll probably see me before every game on the floor, working on my game, working on my craft. That helped a lot too. And just trying to stay consistent with my shots, do the same shot every time. And just work. Just work, work, work, work.”

When James was substituted late in the fourth quarter, the win was nearly sealed, and he received a standing ovation from the road fans and placed a crown on his head in appreciation.

With James continuing to play as well as ever, it naturally arises the question: How much does he plan to play?

“Not long,” James said. “Not for too long. Obviously I'm on the other side of the hill. So I won't be playing for another 21 years, that's for sure. But not for too long. I don't know what or when that will be.” “The door will close when I retire, but I don't have much time.”