ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James scored a season-high 47 points on his 38th birthday as many of the sold-out crowds at State Farm Arena cheered him on every step of the way as the Los Angeles Lakers played on Friday night. defeated the Atlanta Hawks 130-121.
A four-time NBA MVP and 18-time All-Star, James had 10 rebounds and nine assists. He scored 16 points in the second quarter, 13 points in the third quarter, and 16 points in the fourth quarter. James started the game in his ninth place averaging 27.8 points.
The Hawks (17-19), on a three-game losing streak, took a 15-point lead, but with 10:50 left, Aaron Holiday’s 3-point shot restored the lead to 101-100. James hit his 3 from the right side to make him 103-101 and Los Angeles couldn’t lose again. The Lakers (15-21) took a straight 3 from James and he led 108-105 before the Hawks called a timeout.
The Lakers have lost nine of their last 13 games, but lead 120-113 on James’ three-point play with 2:18 remaining. Many in the crowd rose to their feet when John Collins scored his sixth foul and went down on the baseline hitting his layup. He hit his throw in the free, came back on the next possession and reversed his layup at the baseline to get the crowd back on their feet again.
Los Angeles were never threatened again, leading 126-119 on a Thomas Bryant layup with 55 seconds remaining. James went 130-121 with two free throws and the crowd shouted, “MVP! MVP!”
Bryant had 19 points and 17 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook had 14 points and 11 assists.
Trae Young leads with 29 points and Dejounte Murray with 20.
Los Angeles trailed by 15 points in the second quarter and led 82-81 with a quick lay-in from James late in the third quarter. The Lakers were in the middle of his 17-4 run, but James’ three-pointer on his play and he finished with an 87-83 lead.
Young’s three-point play early gave the Hawks an opening double-digit lead at 26–16. Young first he scored 13 points, but he landed awkwardly while hitting a traffic layup at the first quarter buzzer and appeared to bump a knee with another player. . He returned at the 4:42 mark for the second, scoring 17 points in the half.
Los Angeles, who scored 39 points in the second quarter, trailed by 15 points in the period but went into the break at 67-62.
After the televised interview, James left the court to sign the rapper’s 2 Chainz jersey before leaving for another standing ovation.
Lakers: James’ previous season high was 39 points on Nov. 26 in San Antonio. … Coach Durbin Hamm said Anthony Davis was “on the right track” with a stress injury to his right leg and said he was “mostly out of pain”. “I feel a lot better,” Davis told reporters before the game after being out of action for two weeks. Davis’ return is slated for his second week in January. … Austin Reeves started in place of Lonnie Walker IV (tailbone) and on 13 shots he scored 5-for-1.
Hawks: Clint Capela (right calf contusion) is out for the sixth time in the past seven games. Onyeka Okongwu again started in his place and scored 17 points. … De’Andre Hunter (sprained left ankle) has missed three games in a row. … The NBA fined Bogdanovich his $25,000 for kicking the ball into the stands after he lost 108-107 at home to Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Lakers: Monday in Charlotte.
Hawks: Monday in Golden State.
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