LOS ANGELES — Dillon Brooks learned the hard way not to tempt fate.
A player he called “old,” “tired,” wasn’t as good as he was when he scored two crucial baskets Monday, and the Lakers are on the brink of eliminating the Memphis Grizzlies following a 117-111 overtime victory.
What else would you expect from LeBron James?
The 38-year-old, four-time NBA champion, four-time MVP and the game’s all-time leading scorer, burned James Brooks on a liner off the glass with 29.4 seconds left in overtime. Brooks was whistled for a foul and James missed a free throw, but the building shook with a roar from the crowd — and from James.
The Lakers lead the series 3-1 and can wrap it up in Game 5 on Wednesday in Memphis.
James tied the game with a high layup off the glass with .8 seconds left over defensive player of the year Jaron Jackson Jr. and Xavier Tillman Sr.
Za Morant had a shot near the left elbow, but Anthony Davis tipped it away. James grabbed the ball after the clock hit zero and drilled a shot from beyond halfcourt — but of course it didn’t count.
By the time it was over, James had scored 22 points and grabbed a playoff-career-high 20 rebounds. At 38 years and 115 days, James became the oldest player in NBA history (regular or postseason) to record a 20-point, 20-rebound game.
Austin Reaves led the Lakers with 23 points, and Davis struggled all night (he shot 4-of-13) but still finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. His big play at the end of regulation accounted for one of his four blocks.
Desmond Payne paced the Grizzlies with 36 points, but missed just two of his shots in overtime. Morant came off a 45-point Game 3, scoring 19 points on 8-of-24 shooting. He appeared to aggravate his right hand on a hard fall in the second quarter. Morant was in the game, but favored his arm, struggled to shoot and refused to hit the rim.
The Grizzlies led the game by seven points with 4:56 left in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell responded with two 3s to bring his team back.
Both Morant and Brooks left the Grizzlies’ locker room, which is against NBA protocol.
(Photo: Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today)