NBA wrap: Lakers rout Warriors despite LeBron James exiting in third quarter with injury

The Lakers powered to a win over the defending champions without their biggest star in the marquee Christmas Day matchup​ Tuesday. 

Los Angeles had control for the entire game at Oracle Arena even after LeBron James exited in the third quarter. The Lakers star went down with a groin strain and never returned. But the young team pulled together to rout the Warriors, 127-101.

The Lakers led at halftime, 65-50, with James carrying a brunt of the load. He finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds before heading to the locker room. 

Andre Iguodala came off the bench for the Warriors and scored 16 points in the first half. But the veteran guard was the only player who started out hot for the hosting Golden State squad. It shot just 38.9 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from 3-point range through the first two quarters.

The Warriors managed to cut their deficit to as little as two in the third quarter, but the Lakers held on for just their second win in five games. Iguodala finished with a team-high 23 points in the losing effort.

Kyle Kuzma helped push Los Angeles to a victory. He finished with 19 points while Ivica Zubac chipped in 18. Rajon Rondo had 15 points off the bench.

The two teams were meeting for the first time since James signed with Los Angeles and moved to the Western Conference in the offseason. 

Studs of the Night

Giannis Antetokounmpo racked up 30 points and 14 rebounds in the Bucks’ 109-95 road win over the Knicks.

James Harden recorded the first 40-point game on Christmas day since Kevin Durant in 2010. His 41 points helped power the Rockets to a 113-109 victory over the Thunder.

Kyrie Irving helped Boston in a big way Tuesday. He hit a late shot in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then made back-to-back 3-pointers to secure the Celtics’ 121-114 win over the 76ers. He finished with 40 points on 17-of-33 shooting. Irving also made half of his 3-pointers (five of 10) and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Duds of the Night

Khris Middleton scored six points on 2-of-12 shooting in Milwaukee’s win over New York.

The Celtics didn’t need a big night from all their starters. Al Horford and Marcus Smart combined for just 10 points.

Highlights

Knicks forward Noah Vonleh denied Antetokounmpo in New York’s losing effort.

Harden threw an effortless bounce pass between his legs and found Clint Capela at the rim.

Irving’s impressive performance helped keep the Celtics alive and force overtime against the 76ers.

What’s Next?

Kings (18-15) at Clippers (19-14) 10:30 p.m. ET — Only one game separates these two teams. Los Angeles went down to the wire against the Warriors on Sunday but fell short 129-127 after a Stephen Curry buzzer beater. Sacramento’s youth is developing at a rapid rate and it has a number of players that can get going on offense, much like the Clippers.