He kept looking to attack the basket, showing the burst when driving that wasn’t present in the opening half. James had only scored five points on 2-of-6 shooting.
But he gained momentum in the third quarter and exhibited the emotion Lakers’ fans have been waiting to see when the game got intense.
On one possession, James matched up in the post against Jae Crowder, who exchanged words with the Lakers all night, and a smile formed on his face when Crowder got into his defensive stance.
James backed Crowder down, spun away from him and finished a reverse layup that saw Staples Center, and the NBA world, erupt.
Take a look at some of the best reactions from that play:
https://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/1398132757415538689?s=20 https://twitter.com/espn/status/1398132184251305986?s=20 https://twitter.com/ZachLowe_NBA/status/1398132387729625089?s=20
https://twitter.com/Ballislife/status/1398133177902829570?s=20 https://twitter.com/WorldWideWob/status/1398131596440580096?s=20 https://twitter.com/Lakers/status/1398138101160058883?s=20
https://twitter.com/SnottieDrippen/status/1398131986309337088?s=20 https://twitter.com/JaredDudley619/status/1398139753816494082?s=20 https://twitter.com/ringernba/status/1398131701839056898?s=20
https://twitter.com/TaylorRooks/status/1398131531890278402?s=20 https://twitter.com/getnickwright/status/1398131537607073792?s=20 https://twitter.com/LakersNation/status/1398131673343037442?s=20