Lakers let late lead slip away before beating Knicks in OT

Fans crowded the baseline, reporters whipped out their phones and photographers snapped photos, LeBron James the center of attention.

Standing on one of basketball’s most iconic courts at Madison Square Garden, he set the league’s all-time record sprinting from an impossible dream to near reality.

That’s why it was the biggest show in town on Tuesday – celebrities and sports stars lined the pitch to watch James set a record once thought to be unbreakable.

James’ quest for individual greatness comes at a time when he’s trying to do something potentially more daunting — drag the Lakers from the bottom of the Western Conference standings into the championship fight.

What if it didn’t just have to be one guy?

Russell Westbrook hosted, Anthony Davis defended and James had his first triple-double of the season, surviving the Lakers to beat the Knicks 129-123 in overtime.

James finished the tournament with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Davis, back in just his third game after missing a month with foot injuries, had 27 with nine rebounds and Westbrook had 17, six rebounds and eight assists off the bench. Rui Hachimura scored 19 goals as he started without Patrick Beverley.

James now has 38,299 career points – just 89 points away from beating Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record.

By the time James and Davis were back on the court after suffering a citywide loss in Brooklyn on Monday, the Lakers were nearly complete. Being fully effective is a different story for the Lakers, the team is still trying to find their way more than halfway through the season.

But when James plays like that, it can be effective enough – most games.

Shortly after nabbing a rebound to give him his first triple-double of the season, James stepped into an open three-pointer and swung it, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau dropped his head and called for a timeout after seeing how James scored another big throw in another big hit moment.

But after it appeared he created another big moment at the Garden — a sweeping three-pointer to take the Lakers to a six — he and his team broke down. The inconsistencies that have plagued them in so many close games surfaced, the Knicks rushed back to level the score and gave them a chance at the win with 4.5 seconds left.

Davis, however, deterred just enough to stop Julius Randle from scoring a game-winning shot, forcing the game to go into overtime.

In overtime, Westbrook took control and controlled things with his passing while the Lakers’ defense forced enough turnovers and misses to give the team a win they sorely needed. Lakers let late lead slip away before beating Knicks in OT

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