LeBron Declines to Reply to Durant's Comments, Carries Lakers to Fourth Straight Win with 42 Points

LeBron James declined to address Kevin Durant’s comments after inspiring the Los Angeles Lakers to a 121-113 win against the San Antonio Spurs on home court.

The four-time MVP scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, including nine consecutive points that hauled the Lakers back from an eight-point deficit in the final period. LeBron finished with 42 points in 40 minutes, the third time he has scored 40 or more points since joining the Lakers in July.

Read more: Kevin Durant: Lakers, LeBron James will have difficulty finding second option

The 33-year-old shot 15-of-24 from the field, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, and added six assists and five rebounds.

LeBron turned up the heat on the Spurs in the final period, making seven of his eight shots as he and Josh Hart hit consecutive clutch three-pointers down the stretch. Earlier in the fourth quarter, the number 23 had hit an incredible three-pointer from deep, which was arguably the highlight of a stellar performance.

He was well supported by the Lakers’ young core, as Kyle Kuzma finished with 22 points and nine rebounds and Lonzo Ball added 14 points and nine assists.

The win was the Lakers’ fourth in a row and improved their record to 15-9, which currently puts them in fifth place in the Western Conference rankings, two points behind the conference leaders Denver Nuggets.

After a difficult start to the season, the Lakers appear to be slowly but surely hitting their strides, largely thanks to LeBron’s ever-growing influence on the team.

The environment at the Staples Center seems to be far from the “toxic” scenario Kevin Durant alluded to on Wednesday, when he warned the Lakers will struggle to recruit a star to play alongside the three-time NBA champion.

"He has so many fanboys in the media," Durant said in an interview with Ric Bucher. "Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic."

Speaking after the win over the Spurs, LeBron was eager to minimize the issue, suggesting he would first look at the context of what was asked of Durant before making any comments.

"I believe that's probably not the whole quote so I am not going to comment on that,” he was quoted as saying by USA Today.

"I will love to see the whole transcript of what was asked of him, the context of what was asked, why it was asked, and the whole thing. I am not going to comment on it. I don’t know the whole thing—that would be stupid on my part. I am a veteran."

Durant specified the remark about the media was intended as a criticism of the press, rather than LeBron but his words reverberated around the NBA.

The defending NBA Finals MVP  signed a new two-year deal with the Warriors in the summer but has a player option for the 2019-20 season, which he is expected to decline in favor of testing free agency.

If his words are anything to go by, Los Angeles doesn’t feature prominently in the list of teams he would like to play with. It remains to be seen, however, whether other superstars who could become free agents at the end of the season like Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson share Durant’s view.

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after his blocking foul during a 121-113 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on December 5 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images

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