Lakers' Carmelo Anthony on Playing Center with LeBron James: 'Evolution of the Game'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after blocking a shot by Houston Rockets forward David Nwaba during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

Whether it's at point guard, small forward or even center, there's no position on the court LeBron James can't dominate.

James got his first career start at the 5 in Tuesday's 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets, pouring in a 32-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist triple-double. 

"It's the evolution of the game,"  teammate Carmelo Anthony, who also played some minutes at 5, told reporters. "You have fives playing on the perimeter now. You got to adapt and you got to adjust, and you got to stay sharp, because if you don't, you'll get left behind."

Lakers acting coach David Fizdale chose to not play centers DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard in favor of slotting James at the 5 against a Rockets team that plays smaller with Christian Wood at center. James handled himself well on both ends of the floor, with the offense looking especially stellar when Anthony hopped on the floor at the 4.

"I think I've taken pride over the course of my career in being able to play five positions," James said. "Or at least know all five positions. Knowing the commands. So tonight ... called for me to start at center and I just tried to be in a hell of a lot of plays."

James is in the midst of a stellar run of basketball, despite the Lakers' struggles as a team. He became the oldest player in NBA history with five straight 30-point games Tuesday; he scored at least 20 points in all but one game he's played in the month of December.