If their win against the Hawks on Friday night is anything to go through, it looks like the Lakers are turning the corner.
The comfortable 134-118 victory is the team’s fourth-best in a row on the season and leads the Lakers to 21-19 on the season, the first time they have been two games above .500 since Dec. 17.
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Five players scored in double figures for the Lakers as the team scored 17 3-pointers with an efficiency of 41.5 percent, which are big jumps from their season averages of 12.1 and 35.1 percent respectively. On defense, they had 14 steals against one of the best offenses in the league and scored 28 points from the Hawks’ 15 turnovers.
All of this without Anthony Davis, so there was a lot to celebrate from this Lakers win.
LeBron James continues his superhuman stretch
In 36 minutes of playing time, LeBron James filled the stat sheet with 32 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks on 13 of 24 shooting from the field.
Could you believe those are numbers recorded by a player who just turned 37? Well, the King is making it credible. According to StatmuseJames is the first player since 1975 to record at least 8/30/8/3/3 when he is over 34 years old.
With this game, the Lakers improve to an undefeated 5-0 when playing center while averaging 127 points per game. It’s not just the numbers, James is still entertaining with some stellar dunk highlights.
While he’s getting spectacular stats, he attributes the team’s recent success to the guys returning to the lineup.
“It’s that simple … We’re starting to see what we have because the guys are in the lineup.” James said after the game.
Malik Monk erupts for the best season
Malik Monk is enjoying the best season of his career with the Lakers in what is his fifth year in the league, especially in his recent streak as a starter.
Against the Hawks, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard exploded for a total of 29 points, the season-high, with 21 of them coming from beyond the arc.
This game brings his season average to a career-high 12.1 points per game. He’s also shooting a career-high 48.1 percent efficiency from the field and hitting a career-high 2.1 3-pointers per game at a 39.7 pace, which is not far behind his career-high of 40.1 percent.
Flashes of the Horton-Tucker Promise
After some really tough games during the month of December, Talen Horton-Tucker put together a great game against the Hawks.
In 30 minutes, he scored 21 points that included a 10-0 career run late in the third quarter as the Lakers really started to walk away from the Hawks. Along with that, he also delivered five assists on 7 of 13 shooting from the field.
Team play on both ends
37 assists. 14 steals and only eight turnovers. Those are numbers that most of the time lead to victory.
As with his 3-pointers, these numbers are a big step in the right direction from the team’s season averages: 24.6 assists (10th best), 8.4 (7th best) and 15.3 turnovers (26 °).
“We know that if we don’t beat ourselves we can be tough to beat,” head coach Frank Vogel said after the game. The Lakers give up an average of 17.2 points for turnovers, which ranked 25th in the league.
The challenge for the team now would be to maintain this level of play and they have a great test on Sunday to do so as they host the Memphis Grizzlies, who have won seven straight games.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.