Lakers Highlights: LeBron James Continues Hot Scoring To Beat Hornets In First Game Of 2023

LeBron James celebrated his birthday in style with a 47-point explosion in a win against the Atlanta Hawks, and he had one heck of a follow-up as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to their first win of 2023 against the Charlotte Hornets.

James scored a game-high 43 points against the Hornets, marking his second consecutive 40-plus scoring outing. He did most of his damage in the painted area, particularly in transition where he thrilled the crowd with a bevy of dunks but also had his jumper working. Perhaps even more impressive was that he scored over 40 without hitting a single 3-pointer, going 0-of-3 from range.

Aside from the scoring, James was contributing elsewhere as he also pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with six assists and one steal.

Thomas Bryant has stepped up in a big way as the starting center since Anthony Davis has been out, and that was no different against Charlotte as he came away with another double-double. Bryant was L.A.’s second-leading scorer, dropping 18 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He also ripped down 15 rebounds with five of them coming on the offensive end.

The young big man’s energy was infectious throughout the night and his biggest bucket came in the final stretch where James found him for a dunk underneath that gave the Lakers just enough separation.

Austin Reaves had been struggling for a while now, but the second-year player finally broke out of his slump against the Hornets with a big performance off the bench. Reaves was everywhere on the floor, scoring 15 points while dishing out seven assists and coming down with six rebounds. His effort in all threes areas was crucial in helping the Lakers get the win.

Troy Brown Jr. drew the start in place of Lonnie Walker IV who missed his second consecutive game and he delivered with a solid two-way performance. All of Brown’s points came from beyond the arc, draining 4-of-8 attempts while three steals. Los Angeles has been starved for stronger wing play, so hopefully Brown’s performance earns him a bigger role going forward.

What’s next for Lakers

L.A. finally gets to return home to Arena but it isn’t for long as they get two games. The first one comes on Wednesday against the Miami Heat, followed by a rematch against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. They then hit the road for a back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

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