LeBron James’ all-time performance on his birthday was enough to lead the Lakers to victory over the Hawks on Friday night in Atlanta. James had an incredible performance with 47 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and was the best in a Lakers uniform.
Although LeBron only scored two points in the first quarter, he was unconscious for the final three quarters and the second half. He also helped the Lakers break their historically poor performance in the clutch this season and pull away late for a win.
His performance overshadowed Thomas Bryant’s own season-best outing as he managed 19 points and 17 rebounds in 34 minutes. Russell Westbrook had 14 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench and Dennis Schroder had 12 points and nine assists.
LeBron put on a vintage performance on his 38th birthday, continuing to defy Father Time in the most ridiculous ways. He was as unstoppable as he has been all season, scoring 31 points and assists in the first three quarters alone. Lakers Overcame their second half demons and regained the lead in the period.
In the process, LeBron became the all-time leading scorer for a player on his birthday, and surpassed that mark during the third quarter.
It was a 28-14 run the Lakers took in the third, a big part of which came from LeBron. His 3-point play late in the quarter showed just how much energy and effort he played with on the night.
It wasn’t just the third period, he was successful because he was the driving force behind everything the Lakers did all night. In the second quarter, the Hawks’ lead grew to as big as 15 points, but it was LeBron who kept the Lakers from completely losing the ropes.
LeBron scored 32 of the Lakers’ 39 second-quarter points (16 with an assist, 16 with an assist).
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 31, 2022
The defensive struggles continued into the night for the Lakers, and the game simply became a shootout, perhaps the only way to compete in games with the current iteration of the Lakers roster. The Lakers gave up 33 and 34 points in the first and second quarters, respectively, but went on a run late in the half to trail by just five points.
A run late in the third quarter put them in their favor going into the fourth, but with LeBron on the bench, the Lakers hit Atlanta 3-pointers to take the lead. As LeBron was forced back into the game, the Lakers responded by tying things up and began pounding Atlanta the rest of the fourth.
The Lakers are back in action on Monday in Charlotte, where they conclude a five-game road trip.
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