A lot was going on in the NBA on Saturday night (CET). Five players scored more than 40 points, with birthday king LeBron James standing out. Franz Wagner had a good game despite the defeat.

“At 18 years old, I knew how to play the game. I knew I belonged in the NBA, but I didn’t know at 18 what I was going to be. But I knew if I kept putting hard work into the sport and the game, I could become one of the greatest players of all time,” LeBron James said on his 38th birthday after the Lakers’ 130-121 win over the Hawks.

He has long been one of the greatest players, for many even the greatest. Recently, German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki sang the praises of the “King“. “He is a very, very special athlete and we should enjoy watching him play at this level,” said the Würzburg native.

LeBron showed this level once again in Atlanta, had 47 points, ten rebounds, and nine assists in the boxscore at the end of the game, and just missed a triple-double. He led his team to its 15th win of the season. Dennis Schröder had twelve points and nine assists in 32 minutes.

43 points and 20 rebounds for Giannis

James was not the only player to score more than 40 points. Zach LaVine put up 43 points in the Chicago Bulls 131-118 win over Detroit.  Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again the Bucks’ best hoopster, scoring 43 points in the 123-114 win over the Timberwolves. The Greeks also collected 20 rebounds for a mighty double-double.

Also in the plus-40 club, that night was CJ McCollum, who put up 42 points in the Pelicans’ 127-116 win over the 76ers, eclipsing teammate Joes Embiid’s 37 points. Jordan Poole, meanwhile, scored 41 points in the Warriors’ 118-112 win over the Trail Blazers.

Franz Wagner impresses in Magic defeat

Franz Wagner also put in a strong performance, although it did not contribute to the Magic’s victory. Without Moritz Wagner and five other suspended players, Orlando lost 100-119 to the Washington Wizards. Mo Wagner had triggered an altercation between players of both teams with a hard foul in Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. For Orlando to be able to field eight players at all against Washington, the penalties were split up, so Franz Wagner, for example, was allowed to play and scored 28 points and eight assists. He will serve his suspension in the first game of the new year, while his brother Moritz received a two-game suspension for causing the altercation.