LeBron Ices win over Pelicans with a Triple.

It’s hard to keep a champion down. After successive losses, LeBron and the Lakers fire up against the Pelicans. Here’s the full report…

LeBron’s Unreal Triple Ices Win Over Pelicans

Clock running out, defender all over him, fading away on one leg: ideal conditions for LeBron James.

The Lakers were nursing a three-point lead with only 31 seconds left when James stepped back for a ridiculous corner 3-pointer to put the game on ice for a 125-119 win over New Orleans.

“I think he had his hands in the air before it went in,” coach Luke Walton said. “That’s what great players do. That’s an impossible shot and we needed it at that moment. We had kind of stalled out offensively. A big-time shot by one of the all-time greats.”

Having lost four of their previous five games, the Lakers (30-31) needed to get back in the win column to avoid falling further in the Western Conference playoff race.

Unsurprisingly, James was the one leading the way with 33 points and 10 assists. He constantly powered through the Pelicans’ interior defense while also stepping out for four 3-pointers, including his insane trey in the final minute.

But it took more than one player to overcome a spirited effort from New Orleans (27-36), which was led by former Laker Julius Randle (35 points) and L.A. native Jrue Holiday (19 points, 10 assists).

The Lakers trotted out a small-ball starting lineup, replacing 7-footer JaVale McGee with 6-foot-1 Rajon Rondo.

“We needed to win,” Walton said. “Rondo’s won championships. He’s an NBA champion. Let’s get him on the court and see what happens.”

The point guard was instrumental in his team’s attack, handing out a season-high 16 assists while also pitching in 11 points.

A couple of those dimes came during the most explosive part of the night. The Lakers trailed by five midway through the third quarter when Kyle Kuzma (22 points) suddenly erupted.

The 23-year-old threw down three monstrous dunks in a two-minute stretch, while LeBron provided one of his own, sending the crowd into hysterics.

“Those were huge momentum plays for our ball club,” James said, “which the fans loved and we loved it for them.”

The Lakers rode that momentum the rest of the way, though they still needed some clutch moments to pull out the victory. New Orleans cut their lead to just one with 1:38 left, when they turned to their hot hand.

Brandon Ingram — who continued his impressive four-game streak with 23 points — attacked his man off the dribble, getting to the rim and scoring despite a tough finish.

Then LeBron asserted himself on the defensive end, switching onto Holiday and stripping the point guard of the ball. When the Pelicans forced him into a tough shot on the ensuing possession, he turned dire circumstances into an unreal bucket.

“LeBron did what LeBron does,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “He makes an almost impossible shot in the corner and that put a lot of pressure on us. That really was the one that decided the game.”

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LeBron James joins the LA Lakers

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LeBron James’ new Lakers contract will make him the best-paid NBA player — ever.

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LeBron James is a perennial NBA All-Star with four Most Valuable Player awards and three championship rings, including the one he won most recently, in 2016, with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. But, starting next season, James, 33, will also have a new work address, thanks to the four-year, $154 million contract the basketball star agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

It will likely make him the best-paid NBA player ever and pushes him down the path to becoming a billionaire.

Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents James, announced his decision to join the Lakers, which came only two days after the NBA star opted out of his contract with Cleveland to become a free agent. James, who owns multiple homes in the Los Angeles area, has a new contract that will pay him $35.6 million for the upcoming 2018-2019 NBA season and its annual value will increase each year until it hits $41 million for the 2021-2022 season, according to sports contract website Spotrac.

After the fourth and final year of James’ new deal with the Lakers, he will have earned over $387.2 million, which will make him the highest-paid player in the history of the NBA, based on all-time career salary, according to Spotrac. After the most recent NBA season, which ended with James’ Cavaliers losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in June, James has earned a total of $233.9 million in NBA salary over 15 seasons since he entered the league in 2003 as an 18-year-old rookie.

Spotrac’s ranking of the NBA players with the all-time highest career earnings currently has only five players ahead of James. Four of those players (Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan) are retired, so they won’t be earning any more salary as NBA players. The fifth player ahead of James in career salary is Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, who earned just $5 million last season and, at 40 years old, is likely to retire after another season or two and will not earn any further blockbuster NBA contracts.

Part of the way through his third season in Los Angeles, James will pass Garnett’s career earnings of $334 million, according to Spotrac, to take the top spot. And James isn’t the only active NBA shooting up the list of all-time career earnings. Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul’s, 33, new four-year contract, which will also pay him $35.6 million this year, will leave him with a whopping $346.5 million in career salary after the 2021-2022 season, which will place him just behind James.

Because of the NBA’s rigid salary structure, which does not allow players to earn more than a maximum amount that’s set for each season, it is extremely unlikely that any player will be able to swoop in with a mega-deal to pass James on the career salary earnings rankings over the next four years.

Of course, LeBron James’ income is not dependent on his NBA salary. The future hall-of-famer will collect an estimated $52 million in 2017 (or about 60 percent of his annual income) from massive endorsement deals with brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Beats By Dre headphones, according to Forbes.

In total, Forbes estimates that James has already made $765 million between his NBA salary and off-court earnings since he turned pro 15 years ago. So, James might not be quite to the billion-dollar mark overall yet, but with a liftetime endorsement contract with Nike that’s reportedly worth roughly $1 billion overall (according to a James associate), he’s certainly on his way.

Source: cnbc.com