It couldn’t have been written any better and not even in another version of Space Jam. The night of his 38th birthday, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James put up a season-high 47 points to defeat the Atlanta Hawks. It was a night when he also became part of an exclusive group in NBA history.
James joined Kobe Bryant as the only other player to score over 45 points in a game during his 20th season. His 45 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists made him the second player to have a 45/10/5 stat line as a 38-year-old since Michael Jordan.
LeBron’s performance went viral on social media with acrobatic layups and huge slams. He shot 66% from the field too, tying a season-high.
Atlanta Hawks defenders became practically helpless as James caught fire. Hawks forward Onyeka Okongwu, and former Chino Hills and USC product, offered some high praise for LeBron and outlined what it’s like to defend the King, via Kevin Chouinard of Hawks.com:
Onyeka, on guarding LeBron:
"To me, he's the greatest of all time. Me and John being in foul trouble doesn't help, either. He's just a physical specimen going downhill. It's so hard sometimes; you have to foul him. He's a tough cover. We'll see him again a week from today."
— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) December 31, 2022
Okongwu had four fouls in the game, hurting his aggressiveness on defense. His teammate John Collins ended up fouling out after 23 minutes. No one on the Hawks could contain LeBron’s explosive game on offense.
Listed at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, your best bet at stopping a storming LeBron down the court is by saying “Olé” and getting out of the way. His combination of strength and speed is unlike many in NBA history. Most of James’ points came in the paint too — he only shot six 3-pointers.
Even though he’s faced LeBron only four times, Okongwu’s seen enough. He declared James the greatest of all time, a feat the Lakers forward has been chasing for years.
Okongwu and the Hawks get another shot on Jan. 6 at slowing down the King.
Troy Brown Jr. urges announcers to stop calling him Tony
Lakers forward Troy Brown Jr. has had a solid stretch of recent outings, however, announcers seem to be calling him by the wrong name.
After the Lakers’ win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, Brown tweeted he’d appreciate it if announcers stopped calling him “Tony Brown.” Brown can only hope his improved play can lead to announcers calling him the right name.
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