ATLANTA —— LeBron James celebrated his special night on Friday by scoring a season-high 47 points on his 38th birthday to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 130-121 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. The Lakers were bouncing back from the 112-98 defeat to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
James, who had an outrageous performance at the State Farm Arena, made 18 of his shots from the field overall and made 4 three-pointers, was one assist away from his first triple-double of the season –after he also finished with 10 rebounds and 9 assists in the win. Read more: New Jersey halts Citrus Bowl bets due to Purdue hiring Drew Brees – report
The Lakers were aided by strong performances from Thomas Bryant who added 19 points, and 17 rebounds, Russell Westbrook, who chipped in with 14 points, and 11 assists, and Dennis Schroder after he ended the night with 12 points, and nine assists for Los Angeles (15-21).
Meanwhile, Trae Young led the Hawks with 29 points and 8 assists, while Dejounte Murray contributed 20 points and nine assists, and Onyeka Okongwu added 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Young returned to the lineup tonight after missing the defeat to the Brooklyn Nets with a left calf contusion.
Young had another scare during Friday’s game against the Lakers after he was forced to leave the contest due to a back contusion after taking a hard fall in the first quarter. He was taken to the locker room for an assessment and later returned to the contest early in the second quarter.
James, who had a 44-point performance as a teenager and a 38-year-old, scored 18 points eight assists, and five rebounds in the first half.
“Just awesome man, he’s (LeBron) put the team on his back and been doing what he’s done for the last 20 years. A hell of a performance,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham told reporters in reference to James’ season-high scoring performance.
“Dropping 47 (points) is inspiring because he plays the game the right way… He motivates and inspires the team to go out there and do their jobs.”
The Los Angeles Lakers were without Lonnie Walker IV due to a tailbone contusion, while the Hawks (17-19) played without Clint Capela (right calf strain) and De’Andre Hunter (left ankle sprain).
Los Angeles came back from a 15-point deficit and ultimately took the win, while the Hawks suffered their third straight loss. The Lakers will continue their five-game road trip on Monday in Charlotte, and the Hawks will start a four-game West Coast road trip on Monday at Golden State.