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LeBron, Lakers sink Spurs anew

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — LeBron James scored a season-high 39 points to lead six Los Angeles players in double figures as the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs for the second time in two days on Saturday, 143-138, in the National Basketball Association.

James, who scored 21 points but showed some rust in his return from a groin injury in Friday’s win in San Antonio, effortlessly picked up the slack with star teammate Anthony Davis sidelined with a calf injury on the second night of the NBA back-to-back.

James, who pulled down 11 rebounds, was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line and drained seven of the Lakers’ 17 three-pointers.

James, who was struggling from three-point range before injury sidelined him for five games, said he never doubted the shots would start to fall. He was just as pleased with the overall team effort.

The chemistry was on display late in the second quarter when James came up with a steal and lobbed a pass to Russell Westbrook in the corner only for Westbrook to toss up the ball for the onrushing James to slam home.

“I feel like we’re getting better and better,” James said of a Lakers team that has struggled in the early going this season.

“Early in the season we’d have lost a game like this.”

“I feel like we’re definitely buying in to the extra pass. Guys are trusting their shots and not thinking about it — (we’re) shooting from the perimeter with confidence and we’re also still attacking the rim.”

Dennis Schroder added 21 points and Lonnie Walker added 19. Westbrook added 11 points with seven rebounds and six assists in what proved a bruising encounter.

Westbrook was incensed when he took an elbow to the face from Zach Collins under the basket with two minutes left in the third quarter.

Westbrook jumped up, bleeding profusely, and charged toward Collins before James got his arms around Westbrook and, as they headed toward the bench, a held a towel to his forehead.

Collins was ejected for a flagrant foul and Westbrook — who went briefly to the locker room but returned to the game after it was determined he didn’t need stitches — was assessed a technical foul.

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