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Triple for James but Lakers stumble again

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By Agence France-Presse

LeBron James produced a 28-point triple double but it was not enough to prevent the Los Angeles Lakers from sliding to defeat against the lowly Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

A stony-faced James marched quickly off the court at the State Farm Arena following a fourth defeat in five games for the Lakers, who were pummelled by Philadelphia in their previous outing on Sunday.

James’ fifth triple double of the year included 28 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists. However the Lakers were undone by a determined Hawks line-up which spread the scoring through their ranks to complete a 117-113 win.

“At the end of the day we lost the ball game, I don’t care what I did individually,” James said of his performance.

“I could care less if I’m not winning ball games. That’s what I’m all about. I can throw that game in the trash.”

John Collins and Trae Young had 22 points each for the Hawks, while four other players made double figures.

The Lakers fell to 28-29 with the defeat, which saw Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram score 19 points each while point guard chipped in with 15 points.

The Lakers remain outside the playoff places in the Western Conference in 10th spot, and will need to halt their slide in form if they are to mount a charge for the playoffs.

“We didn’t have consistent play in all phases of the game, offensively and defensively,” James told reporters.

Asked about a leaky defence which has conceded an average of nearly 33 points a quarter in recent games, James added: “The numbers speak for themselveshttps://fastbreak.com.ph/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=75489&type=image&TB_iframe=1. We’ll have to look at that.”

The Hawks meanwhile are way down the pecking order in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, with 19 wins against 38 losses.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Gordon Hayward delivered 26 points from the bench to spark Boston to a 112-109 victory at Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia.

Hayward, who has made a successful return from a horrific leg in 2017 which sidelined him for the entire season, drained six three-pointers to give the Celtics a battling win over the Sixers.

The Celtics are now level with the Sixers with 36 wins against 21 defeats and will take encouragement from a win achieved without Kyrie Irving, who was out with a strained knee.

In Irving’s absence it was left to Hayward to lead the Celtics offense during his 26 minutes on court.

Al Horford had 23 points while Jayson Tatum added 20 to help set up the win. All of Philadelphia’s starters made double figures with Joel Embiid adding 23 points.