LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE

LeBron and Lakers Steal Game from Atlanta

by Taylor Geas

It was 50 years ago today, against the Atlanta Hawks, that the Lakers won their 33rd consecutive game — the longest winning streak in the history of the NBA. Tonight, the Purple and Gold honored their legacy and the day by clinching a 134-118 win over Atlanta, their fourth-consecutive.

The Lakers started small again and stayed small for the majority of the game. The Hawks were trying to utilize their size in the paint, but it wasn't enough to control the game. The Lakers dominant offense kept the game in their hands for 48 minutes.

There was very little the Hawks could do to contain the Lakers offensively. Especially LeBron James (32 pts, 9 ast, 8 reb). He was the facilitator for three quarters. He was circulating the ball around the arc, getting the ball to the guys who he knew would knock down the three... and they did. They’ll be time for that later though. So, LBJ was looking to pass right up until the fourth quarter when he entered BLANK. Not only did Bron create and command, he stole. The King is now 10th on the NBA’s all-time steals list and has scored 30+ points in 11 of the last 14 games. He’s different.

Now, there were a lot of hot hands tonight, but the hottest may have been Malik Monk’s (29 pts). Microwave may have cooked a whole microwave dinner — for two. Quarter by quarter Malik was abusing the arc and making himself a threat on other parts of the floor as well, like by the rim with his insane put-back dunk. There’s also something to be said for Monk’s attention to defense tonight, he said he’s conscious of becoming a “more complete player.” And it looks like it. Overall, he went 7-for-12 from three-point range and notched his season-high in points.

As for the other sharpshooters...

Avery Bradley (21 pts, 6 reb) and Carmelo Anthony (17 pts, 7 reb) were triple threats tonight. The Lakers perimeter was a hard one to defend, no man could be left unattended, or they would make the Hawks pay. Overall, the three-and-d game plan specifically stemming from AB really gave the Lakers an edge tonight. Bradley said postgame, “a smaller lineup is activating us on both sides of the floor.”

Honorable mention goes out to Austin Reaves. He was dialed in defensively and confident when it came to picking up Atlanta’s big men under the hoop. Reaves went +10 and brought a presence in his 18 minutes.

Even with this impressive team win, “We're not content,” LeBron said in his postgame presser. The Lakers return Sunday and host the Grizzlies.

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