Los Angeles—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 Reggie Bullock 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.”
Elsewhere Tuesday, the Golden State Warriors overcame a spirited performance by the Utah Jazz before pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 115-108 win.
Kevin Durant put up 28 points while Stephen Curry added 24 to lead the scoring for the Warriors.
Curry’s tally included back-to-back three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to help take the NBA champions into a 103-95 lead.
Utah had earlier matched the Warriors blow for blow, scrapping their way to 93-93 with just under eight minutes left.
However, Curry’s run of points and a sublime three-pointer from Klay Thompson made the game safe for Golden State, who lead the Western Conference with 41 wins against 15 losses.
Curry said the Warriors first quarter defensive display—when they held Utah to only 14 points to help take an 11-point lead—had been the cornerstone of the win.
“We won the game in the first quarter with our defensive effort,” Curry said. “We set the tone early. We’ve been having terrible starts recently, and we rectified that.”
In Philadelphia, Gordon Hayward delivered 26 points from the bench to spark Boston to a 112-109 victory over the 76ers.
Hayward, who has made a successful return from a horrific leg injury in 2017 which sidelined him for the entire season, drained six three-pointers to give the Celtics a battling win over their Eastern Conference rivals.
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.
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