With the Lakers trailing by a dozen points entering the fourth quarter and facing a 0-2 start to the season barring a comeback against the Phoenix Suns,
coach Darvin Ham had a choice to make: stick to the 30-minute guideline for LeBron James' playing time and have him on the court for only about half the final frame,
or push the limit and see if the Lakers could ride the 21-year veteran to victory. Ham opted for the latter
James nearly single-handedly outscored the Suns while playing the entire fourth quarter, and the Lakers prevailed 100-95 to rebound from a disheartening opening setback in Denver.
"He asked me if I could go the [whole] quarter, and I looked at the time, the score, and what was going on in the game, and it was an easy answer for myself
James said after finishing with 21 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds in 35 minutes. "I know how much effort I've put in to be able to play quarters or whatever."
And, while I recognize that we have a system in place, tonight called for me to think outside the box." The Lakers outscored the Suns 28-11 in the fourth quarter
with James scoring 10 points, four of which came on consecutive layups, to break a 91-91 tie and give Los Angeles a four-point lead.