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LeBron James delivers historic game on 38th birthday to guide Lakers to victory

It was a vintage masterpiece from LeBron James on his 38th birthday as he led the Lakers to a victory in Atlanta with 47 points.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

An all-time performance from LeBron James on his birthday was enough to propel the Lakers to victory on Friday night in Atlanta over the Hawks. James poured in 47 points to go with 10 rebounds and nine assists in an unbelievable performance and one of his best in a Lakers uniform.

The outing came despite LeBron scoring just two points in the first quarter as he was unconscious for much of the final three quarters and the second half specifically. He also helped the Lakers buck the trend of their historically bad performance in the clutch this season to pull away late for the victory.

His performance overshadowed Thomas Bryant’s own season-best outing as he managed 19 points and 17 rebounds in 34 minutes. Russell Westbrook chipped in 14 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench and Dennis Schröder had 12 points and nine assists.

LeBron continued to defy Father Time in the most absurd of ways, dialing up vintage performance on his 38th birthday. He was as unstoppable as he’s been all season, pouring in 31 points through the first three quarters alone to help the Lakers overcome their second-half demons and retake the lead in the period.

In the process, LeBron also became the all-time leading scorer for a player on his birthday, also crossing that threshold during the third quarter.

It was a 28-14 run that gave the Lakers the lead in the third, a huge chunk of that coming through LeBron. His 3-point play late in the quarter exhibited just how much force and effort he was playing with on the night.

It wasn’t just the third period, though, where he had success as he was the driving force for everything the Lakers did throughout the night. In the second quarter, it was LeBron that kept the Lakers from losing the rope entirely despite the Hawks lead growing to as large as 15 points.

Defensive struggles continued for the Lakers on the night as the game simply became a shootout, perhaps the only way the Lakers can compete in games with the current iteration of the roster. The Lakers gave up 33 and 34 points in the first and second quarters, respectively, but still only trailed by five thanks to a late run in the half.

A late third-quarter run gave them the advantage heading into the fourth but, with LeBron on the bench, the Lakers coughed up the lead with Atlanta hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. With LeBron forced back into the game, the Lakers responded by leveling things up and proceeded to go blow for blow with Atlanta for the remainder of the fourth.

The Lakers will be back in action on Monday in Charlotte where they wrap up their five-game road trip.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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