LeBron James drops 56 points to get Lakers back in win column

At least for now, the Los Angeles Lakers have stopped the bleeding. You will not be surprised to hear it took a huge night from LeBron James.

The Lakers superstar almost single-handedly ended the team's four-game losing streak on Saturday, leading a second-half rally to take down the Golden State Warriors 124-116. James finished the game with 56 points, the most he has ever scored in a single game in a Lakers uniform, on 19-of-31 shooting (6-of-11 from deep) with 10 rebounds and three assists.

The high point came when the Lakers had cut what was once a 14-point deficit to six points midway through the fourth quarter. James rattled off three 3-pointers on three straight possessions, a personal 9-0 run to give Los Angeles the lead.

The exclamation point came several minutes later, when James took flight for a dagger via alley-oop.

It was a vintage night from James, and a historic one as well. Per Statmuse, he is the first player in NBA history to have a 50-point game both before turning 21 years old and after turning 35.

When asked to describe the win after the game, James was blunt:

"Desperation. A four-game losing streak, our season has been up and down. I would say desperation and inspiration, we played inspired basketball against a really good team. We needed this win."

It's hard to blame James for being desperate. You've probably heard about the Lakers' struggles this season. Even with Saturday's win, the team is still seven games below .500 at 28-35 and ninth place in the Western Conference.

The Lakers struggles aren't going away with 1 win

Beyond the record, discord has run rampant in the Lakers organization, particularly around point guard Russell Westbrook, who had 20 points, four rebounds and four assists Saturday. The Lakers were close to trading Westbrook at the deadline, a fact made even more awkward by James' agents being reportedly unhappy the team declined to include a 2027 first-round pick to get the deal done.

Even Saturday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported there has been a push in the Lakers organization for head coach Frank Vogel, very much on the hot seat himself, to demote Westbrook from the starting lineup.

While all of that has been happening, the Lakers have languished on the court, and in very public fashion. Thanks to the wonders of nationally televised games, to which the Lakers are no stranger, the entire country had watched a 1-5 stretch for the team entering Saturday. On the whole, the Lakers had lost 11 of their last 14.

The end result has been speculation about James' future with the team and jeers from the home crowd. A single win won't change the shape of the season, but the Lakers are going to take every win as a hopeful turning point when they're sitting this low.