Triple double for James but Lakers stumble again in loss against Hawks

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – 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 night.

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 last 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.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket as Atlanta Hawks centre Dewayne Dedmon (14) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the two teams in Atlanta on Tuesday night. – AP

John Collins and Trae Young had 22 points each for the Hawks, while four other players scored in 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 themselves. 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.