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LeBron James gets away with blatant travel, says he 'malfunctioned'

By Alex Butler
LeBron James gets away with blatant travel, says he 'malfunctioned'
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James scored 20 points and had 12 assists in a win against the Utah Jazz Wednesday in Salt Lake City. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 5 (UPI) -- LeBron James got away with a blatant traveling violation during a Los Angeles Lakers blowout of the Utah Jazz.

The Lakers star told reporters after the game that he had a "malfunction" in the first quarter of the 121-96 win Wednesday at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.

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James' Lakers trailed 11-5 with 9:19 remaining in the opening frame when he dribbled the ball toward the 3-point arc. Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic picked up James defensively. James eventually picked up his dribble, took several steps and then dribbled again in front of Bogdanovic, who pleaded with a nearby referee to call a travel on the Lakers star.

James passed the ball after the referee declined to call him out for the infraction. The Lakers then went on a run to take a 14-13 lead with 6:47 remaining. Los Angeles held a 34-26 lead at the end of the quarter.

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"It was probably one of the worst things I've ever done in my career," James told reporters. "I didn't even realize I did it until halftime ... I was ready to pass the ball and my brain kinda just ... I just had a malfunction."

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 26 points in the win. James had 20 points, 12 assists and four rebounds for the Lakers. Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 29 points for the Jazz.

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The Lakers battle the Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m. EST Friday at Moda Center in Portland.

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