LeBron James sets playoff wins record with Lakers’ Game 3 victory over Rockets

LeBron James in Lakers-Rockets Game 3
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

When LeBron James won his first playoff game, Rajon Rondo wasn’t even in the NBA yet.

Keep in mind, Rondo has had a pretty full career. He became a star with the Celtics then spent several years as a journeyman. He built a resumé that will get him Hall of Fame consideration. He even aged enough to appear over the hill.

Well, LeBron is still winning playoff games.

And Rondo is still shining.

LeBron – with a major boost from Rondo – led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 112-102 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 3 Tuesday. The victory gave LeBron the record for career playoff wins (162).

With Los Angeles up 3-1 in the series, LeBron will try to add to the total in Game 4 Thursday.

LeBron (36 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four blocks) dominated tonight, especially early. Rondo (21 points on 8-of-11 shooting – including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers! – with nine assists) helped blow open the game late to give LeBron his latest record.

Here are the players with the most career playoff wins:

How did LeBron do it? Three reasons stand out:

  • He’s a great player.
  • He ruled the lesser Eastern Conference for nearly a decade.
  • He plays in the largest postseason format, both by number of teams included and games per round, the NBA has used.

Of course, LeBron credited his teammates and coaches.

Both stood out tonight.

Anthony Davis (26 points and 15 rebounds and six assists) played excellently. Rondo and Kyle Kuzma (14 points on 7-of-10 shooting) added a lift off the bench.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel made a key adjustment, starting started power forward Markieff Morris over center JaVale McGee in the second half. The Lakers’ defense became far more versatile and active, especially when double-teaming James Harden (33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists).

Russell Westbrook (30 points, eight rebounds and six assists) bounced back from a horrendous Game 2.

But Houston has new problems. A bloodied Robert Covington left the game after colliding with Davis in the fourth quarter. Danuel House missed the game due to personal reasons.

The Rockets used just eight players, and only six played more than 11 minutes. Perhaps, fatigue caught up late.

The first three quarters included 15 ties and 14 lead changes. The margin never surpassed six points.

Then, the Lakers went on a 14-2 run early in the fourth quarter to surge ahead for good. Rondo scored or assisted the Lakers’ first 19 points in the fourth quarter.

LeBron is unrelenting.

And there’s just no escaping Rondo.