LeBron James
(Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

James, Davis’ late heroics help Lakers keep streak alive

by Rodrigo Azurmendi
Staff Writer

Anthony Davis wouldn’t let the streak come to an end, sprained ankle or not.

AD landed awkwardly on a layup with 4:14 to go, but despite being noticeably hobbled, remained in the game and was instrumental in guiding the Lakers to their seventh win in a row – and the 14th consecutive on the road.

The Chicago-native would then add a key block on a layup attempt from Trae Young and a clutch free throw down the stretch of what ended up being an extremely uncomfortable game for the Lakers.

“I just wanted to finish the game,” Davis said. “I tweaked it a little bit, but I was just trying to play the rest of the game and get a win, then attend to it after the game.”

The final score didn’t quite reflect it, but the Lakers were having their Sunday Funday early in Atlanta.

Fueled by a dominant performance on the defensive end, LeBron James and Co. were able to enjoy themselves on the opposite end of the floor.

L.A. didn’t have their best version early on, but by the end of the half the terms of the game were clear. Frank Vogel’s perimeter set up one booby trap after another, allowing the length of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo, Danny Green and Alex Caruso to disrupt most of Atlanta’s attempts at getting easy buckets near the rim.

They then kept tightening their grip, which led to all sorts of runouts and opportunities on the break – freeing up LBJ to do what he does best:

Oddly enough, that was James’ first assist of the game. It wouldn’t be the only highlight though.

Moments earlier, Rajon Rondo faked everyone – the King himself included – in order to get a clear pathway to the basket for a layup.

James, who had been expecting something different on a potential alley-oop, showed he has jokes of his own, purposefully mistiming a block attempt on his own teammate:

“He hit me with the fake pass, so I hit him with the fake block,” a smiling James said after the game.

The Lakers defense was no laughing matter though for the Hawks.

L.A. held Atlanta to 36% from the field – and 28.6% from beyond the arc, while outscoring them 54-34 in the paint.

James led all scorers with 32 points and added 13 rebounds and seven dimes.

However, L.A. had a season-high 22 turnovers and no one outside of James could get it going from the perimeter. The King shot 4-of-10 but his teammates made just 1 of 21.

“We couldn’t throw a quarter in the ocean tonight and we were turning the ball over,” James said. “Versus a young team you can’t do that, you give them so many opportunities. Being resilient and relying on our defense, knowing that we can get stops in critical times, and just trying to execute on the other end.”

Davis also got hot just in time, scoring 17 of his 27 in the second half on top of his late-game heroics.

Both KCP and Dwight Howard, natives of Georgia, had their moments as well. Superman had 3 blocks (rising to 15th on the all-time list) and seven rebounds. Caldwell-Pope added 11 points and the aforementioned solid defense, guiding the Lakers to a 24-3 record on the season.

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