LeBron James, Lakers Beat Trae Young, Hawks with Kobe Bryant in Attendance

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) shoots under pressure from Atlanta Hawks' DeAndre' Bembry during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers just keep winning.

Los Angeles defeated the Atlanta Hawks 122-101 on Sunday at Staples Center in the first of two matchups between the teams this season. The Purple and Gold sit atop the Western Conference standings at 11-2 following their fourth consecutive win after LeBron James led the way in the latest effort.

As for the Hawks, they have now lost three in a row and are just 4-9 on the campaign.

          

Notable Player Stats

  • LAL F LeBron James: 33 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds on 13-of-21 shooting and 6-of-10 from deep
  • LAL F Anthony Davis: 14 points, five assists, five blocks and one rebound
  • ATL G Trae Young: 31 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals on 11-of-22 shooting and 2-of-8 from deep

          

LeBron Toys with Hawks for Easy Victory

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It's not exactly breaking news that LeBron can dictate a game a number of ways, but he has put on an absolute clinic this season.

He entered play averaging 11.1 assists a night and could post double-digit dimes in a season for the first time in his career. He has made a point of serving as a distributor of late and has now dished out double-digit assists in eight of his last nine games.

However, he was in attack mode as a scorer when the Lakers came flying out of the gates and jumped out to a 30-6 lead. James seemed on a mission to end the contest before some fans were in their seats, pouring in 12 points in the first quarter alone, unleashing shots from three-point range and attacking off the bounce.

That forced even more defensive attention his way, which allowed him to set up Danny Green for triples and Anthony Davis for looks in the lane on his way to another high-assist showing.

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He may turn 35 years old next month, but James looked every bit the part of superstar in his prime when the game was still hanging in the balance, torching the Hawks defense and sending a message to the rest of the league that his three-point shot needs to be respected.

His perimeter shot has never been his strong suit, which sometimes allows teams to clog the lane and cut off his penetration and passing lanes. If James continues to shoot like he did Sunday, defenses won't be able to rely on that option and will be even more helpless in the future.

The King is locked in as a passer, scorer and apparently shooter at this point. Everyone is officially on notice.

           

Trae Young Provides Silver Lining in Inconsistent Performance

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Atlanta is still in rebuilding mode, and making sure Trae Young continues his ascension as a potential All-Star is the most important thing for the season.

The Hawks took the good with the bad when it came to the 21-year-old on Sunday.

Young had issues with the Lakers' pressure defense on the perimeter, turning it over eight times and forcing the issue on multiple possessions. He also shot a mere 2-of-8 from deep and never found the stroke he is already known for in his second season in the league.

However, he also didn't back down despite his team's abysmal start and gradually battled back under the bright lights of the Staples Center. He attacked the basket, got to the free-throw line, facilitated when needed and was Atlanta's best player for extended stretches.

It would have been easy for Young to fold it up and call it a lost night after his team fell into a decisive hole right away. Instead, he battled through turnover issues and poor outside shooting to pour in more than 30 points for the fourth time in six games.

         

What's Next?

The Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, while the Hawks host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

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