With little else to play for, LeBron James holds impromptu dunk contest in Lakers' bounce-back win

Jack BaerWriter
He might be effectively out of the playoffs, but <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3704/" data-ylk="slk:LeBron James">LeBron James</a> is still fun to watch.. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)
He might be effectively out of the playoffs, but LeBron James is still fun to watch.. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)

The Los Angeles Lakers might be an abject disaster this season between the injuries, the underperformance and the infighting, but at least LeBron James is still around to make the team worth the price of admission

During a 123-107 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, James took to the rim and posted a few dunks that would have looked out of place in the Slam Dunk Contest only because he didn’t require multiple tries.

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The fun began in the second quarter when James waited out his defender to spin and slam it home.

A quarter later, James hauled in a high, bouncing outlet pass to throw down a reverse jam.

Later, he took advantage of a three-man breakaway with a spinning, off-the-glass alley-oop thanks to an assist from Josh Hart.

James would finish with 36 points on 15-of-23 shooting, 10 rebounds and four assists to lead the Lakers to a comfortable road win over the 19-50 Bulls. Another personal highlight for the Lakers was the return of G League hero Andre Ingram, but he only posted two minutes in his first NBA game since last April.

The win snapped a five-game losing streak that all but eliminated the Lakers from the playoffs, as the team’s record is now only 31-36 with 15 games to play.

The team is now 6.5 games out of a playoff spot, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a person or metric giving them better than a two percent chance to make the playoffs. With Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram out for the season and James on a minutes restriction, they probably won’t be mounting the stunning comeback required to even come close to the postseason.

But, the Lakers still have James, who almost definitely came short of his goals for his first season in LA, but still represents the team’s foundation for the future and the main reason most fans probably aren’t rushing for a refund. So, no, Jeff Van Gundy, the Lakers probably shouldn’t trade James.

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