LeBron James got a great present for his 38th birthday as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Atlanta Hawks 130-121.
LeBron James, who was celebrating his 38th birthday, found Patrick Beverley for a layup to get the scoring started for the Lakers and then got loose in transition for one of his trademark slams. Los Angeles was able to get to the paint for scores, but Atlanta also found success in the middle of the floor and took an early 12-8 lead.
The Hawks started to see their 3-point looks go down, with rookie Adrian Griffin knocking down a couple to extend the Laker deficit. Austin Reaves finally started to resemble his old self by drawing free throws and draining a 3-pointer, but Los Angeles went into the second already trailing by double digits at 33-23.
James was able to knock down a long ball to begin the second quarter, but defensively the team gave up too many easy shots to the Hawks who upped their lead to 13. Atlanta had no problem getting to their spots in the half-court, while L.A. struggled to find any rhythm offensively.
The Lakers finally started to show some signs of life because of James and his ability to get into the paint and finish. The King was aggressive getting all the way to the cup down the stretch and because of his effort, L.A. went into halftime only trailing 67-62. James had 18 points in the first half to lead the Lakers.
Thomas Bryant was a factor to begin the third as he drained a foul line jumper and came up with a block. James picked up where he left off in the first half finishing at the rim, but the defense was a sieve on the other end.
The bench unit was able to shore things up on both sides of the floor and James was able to hand the Lakers an 87-83 lead. Trae Young carried the Atlanta offense at the end of the quarter, but L.A. took a 98-85 lead into the fourth.
The two teams traded baskets to kick off the fourth, with the Lakers holding onto a one-possession advantage. The game remained close, though James continued to knock down shots to keep L.A. slightly ahead.
The Hawks were able to keep scoring, but timely threes from Juan Toscano-Anderson and James kept them at bay. It came down to the wire with both squads hitting crunch-time baskets, but it was the Lakers that ultimately held on for the much-needed win.
James celebrated his birthday in style with a season-high 47 points on 18-of-27 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and nine assists.
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