Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

LeBron James led the Lakers to season-defining wins over the NBA-best Bucks and rival Clippers this weekend, all while playing lockdown defense on reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard — the two strongest challengers to his throne in recent years.

Why it matters: James' weekend statement may have changed the course of the MVP race, which Antetokounmpo — who will miss at least two games with a sprained knee — has been heavily favored to win for months.

The big picture: If James leapfrogs Antetokounmpo in the season's final weeks, he will clinch his fifth league MVP, tying him with Michael Jordan for second all-time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six).

By the numbers: James, who became the third player in NBA history to reach 34,000 points, is on pace to average 25+ points per game for a record 16th season. The next closest are Jordan, Karl Malone, and Kobe Bryant — all with 12 such seasons.

What to watch: A Lakers-Clippers playoff series — which has never happened — would be a blessing from the basketball gods. But as yesterday proved, the Lakers would have home-court advantage in all seven games, underscoring the Clippers' need for their own home.

Go deeper: The average NBA team is now worth $2.1 billion

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Trump: Ruth Bader Ginsburg "led an amazing life"

Trump speaking in Bemidji, Minnesota, on Sept. 18. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg "led an amazing life," after he finished a campaign rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, and learned of her death.

What he's saying: "I’m sad to hear,” Trump told the press pool before boarding Air Force One. "She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life."

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.

What they're saying: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a "tireless and resolute champion of justice"

Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking in February. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Democratic and Republican lawmakers along with other leading figures paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday night at age 87.

What they're saying: “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”