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  • Eric Martinez

Lakers top the Hawks 130-114

LeBron James returning to the lineup on Friday night ignited a fast start for the Los Angeles Lakers. Scoring 37 points in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game as the Lakers wanted to take advantage of scoring points in the paint. The Lakers scored 66 of their 130 points in the paint in the final stat sheet. Not only were the Lakers consistent from the free throw line (12 of 16, 75%), but also, they made 16 of 35 three pointers and assisted on 33 baskets made total.

James led the way scoring 25 points and 10 assists. Another contributing factor to the win was the Lakers bench. Russell Westbrook had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. Kendrick Nunn had a season high in scoring with 23 points and a surprising Thomas Bryant had a dominating 19 points and 13 rebounds. It is a sign of collective contribution that Lakers head coach, Darvin Ham, has been wanting all year long. “It’s motivating them to step their game up. They know I’ll put anybody out there, and if they’re playing the right way, they’ll play a significant number of minutes.”

The Lakers have an 18 win and 21 loss record for the season but start the calendar year (2023) at 3-0. The Atlanta Hawks had 5 starters in double figures including potential All-Star Trae Young leading with 32 points, and 9 assists. Atlanta remains in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with an identical record as the Lakers. The Hawks lost 2 of their 3 games in the state of California road trip.

Notable for the Lakers is the absence of many key rotation players that are injured. Lonnie Walker, Anthony Davis, Troy Brown, Damian Jones, and Austin Reaves all are sidelined and could only watch Friday night. It is said Reaves and Walker will be re-evaluated in two weeks so the Lakers must gel as a unit in the next coming games to achieve at least a .500 record by the All-Star break.

Los Angeles Lakers head on the road this evening to play the Sacramento Kings in a back-to-back while Atlanta waits to play the Clippers in Los Angeles.

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