US basketball

LeBron returns as Lakers pummel Hawks for 4th straight win

LeBron returns as Lakers pummel Hawks for 4th straight win

BACK IN FORM. Lakers forward LeBron James shoots against the Hawks during the second half.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Lakers hit their stride as LeBron James posts a double-double just days after sitting out due to a non-COVID illness

LeBron James returned from an illness to put up a team-high 25 points, four teammates joined him in double figures in the first half alone, and the Los Angeles Lakers ran away from the visiting Atlanta Hawks early for a 130-114 triumph Friday night, January 6 (Saturday, January 7, Manila time).

Kendrick Nunn (23) and Russell Westbrook (18) combined for 41 points off the bench for the Lakers, who won their fourth straight game and successfully closed out a two-game home stand.

Trae Young had a game-high 32 points for the Hawks, who were playing the opener of a two-game set in Los Angeles, with a matchup with the Clippers looming on Sunday.

Nunn had 15 of his points, Westbrook 11, and James 10 as part of the Lakers’ dominant first half, during which they shot 56.9% from the field.

With Dennis Schroder (12) and Thomas Bryant (10) adding to the first-half flurry, the hosts scored 9 of the game’s first 11 points en route to as much as a 14-point lead in the first quarter and 26 in the second.

Coming off a double-overtime loss at Golden State and a three-point win at Sacramento over the previous four days, the Hawks never drew closer than 10 over the final 24 minutes.

James, who had 47 and 43 points in consecutive games before sitting out Wednesday with a cold, shot 10-for-19. He threw in a game-high 10 assists to go with 7 rebounds.

Westbrook had a similar double-double with 11 rebounds and a game-high-tying nine assists to complement his 18 points, while Bryant was the game’s leading rebounder with 13 to go with his 19 points.

Schroder finished with 21 points, 15 coming on 5-for-8 accuracy on three-pointers. The Lakers outscored the Hawks, 48-27, from beyond the arc.

Young’s big night was his second 30-point outing on the three-game trip. He has scored 21 or more points in nine consecutive games after a 12-for-24 shooting performance that accompanied 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.

John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, and Dejounte Murray had 16 points apiece for Atlanta, while Onyeka Okongwu and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 10 apiece.

Collins and Hunter shared team-high rebound honors with 8. –

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