Longevity, thy name is LeBron James.

These are points that have been hammered endlessly over the last several years, but what else can you really say? The man bathes in the fountain of youth. He’s turning 39 years old in three weeks, now on his 21st NBA season, and still performing like he’s in the middle of his prime.

On Friday, Manila time, James once again put on a show, front and center at the In-Season Tournament (IST) semifinals stage. 

With a IST finals berth on the line, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar delivered 30 points, five rebounds, and eight assists on 9-of-12 shooting (4/4 from three) in just 23 minutes of action, which was enough to obliterate the New Orleans Pelicans to a 44-point beatdown, 133-89.

Also, note that he did this just a few days ago against a talented Phoenix Suns squad in the quarterfinals, where they won a hard-fought thriller, 106-103. He also played every second of the the fourth quarter and scored 15 valuable points:


Outside of the two aforementioned games, this is how he has logged in the IST:

  • Nov 11th vs. PHO – 32 pts, 11 rebs, 6 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 11/17 FGs
  • Nov 15th vs. MEM – 16 pts, 9 rebs, 6 ast, 1 stl, 23 mins
  • Nov 18th vs. POR – 35 pts, 5 rebs, 9 ast, 2 stls, 5 threes
  • Nov 21st vs. UTA – 17 pts, 7 rebs, 9 ast, 24 mins

Either he’s scoring big or filling the stat sheet despite paying in relatively low minutes.

Players are competitive by nature, but James may have also found an added motivation with the inaugural In-Season Tournament, which not only awards prestige but also an extra $500,000 for every player in the winning team. Multi-millionaire or not, that’s a nice amount of dough. 

Though not without ample help from co-star Anthony Davis and other Lakers, there’s no denying that James has been guiding the Purple and Gold quite handily in the tournament. He has helped bring the team into a 6-0 record in IST games, averaging 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per contest, topped off by an efficient 58.8% shooting – and an insane 63.5% from three on 5.5 attempts.

Overall, the Lakers are 11-4 over their last 15 games, and while their offense is at the middle of the pack during that stretch, the defense, on the other hand, is proving to be stout. They are second in defensive rating and a respectable seventh in points allowed. 

Such defensive confidence is very much needed Sunday in the first-ever IST championship. James and company’s defense will be put to a massive test as they’ll go up against the number one-ranked, high-powered offense of the Indiana Pacers.

It should be a barnburner, though of course, ultimately, we all know eyeballs will be glued to one LeBron James. We’ll see how much rhythm from the last few games he can carry for this highly anticipated finale.The Lakers better be focused to get revenge from this rough defeat last season.