NBA Daily: LeBron James sizzles in Lakers win, 76ers thwart Cavs on the road, Warriors fail again
Today's talking point features the usual LeBron James magic, 76ers's 'size' and Golden State Warriors' struggles
What's with the current generation of athletes defying age? Serena Williams is still a dominant force in Tennis. So are her male compatriots Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. In basketball, it has to king LeBron James! Some magic from the 34-year-old multi-time MVP, Golden State Warriors' uncanny slump and Philadelphia 76ers' big win against Cavaliers make the talking points for today's NBA Daily.
No stopping the King as Lakers cruise
LeBron James secured 33 points while Kyle Kuzma added another 17 as the Los Angeles Lakers jumped out to a 25-point lead in the first quarter and finished off an easy 122-101 victory Sunday over the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
Rajon Rondo scored 15 points and Anthony Davis added 14 as the Lakers earned their fourth consecutive victory and their 11th in their last 12 games since a season-opening loss to the Clippers (Win-Loss ratio of 11/2).
Trae Young scored 31 points and Cam Reddish added 13 as the Hawks lost their third consecutive game and fell for the sixth time in their last seven contests. Atlanta was blown out in Los Angeles for the second consecutive night after losing by 49 to the Clippers on Saturday.
Atlanta scored just nine points through the first nine minutes as the Lakers jumped out to an early 34-9 lead. The Hawks managed to cut the deficit to 10 points in both the second and third quarters before the Lakers pulled away for good. The Lakers ramped up the defensive pressure, blocking 14 shots, their most in a game since 2002. Davis led the way with five blocked shots. The defensive showing made up for Davis' low-scoring night. It was just the third time this season he was held under 20 points.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, while Danny Green and Alex Caruso added 11 each. Rondo's scoring output came in just his third game of the season. James added 12 assists, the fifth consecutive game he had double-digits in assists and the 10th time this season.
76ers stop Cleveland Cavs
You would think size advantage on a basketball court would be limited to amateur leagues. Well, think again! The Philadelphia 76ers put a halt to their struggles on the road, cruising to a comfortable 114-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, riding on their size advantage.
Philly had dropped their past five road games and five of their past seven on total, using their overwhelming size to suffocate the Cavs on both ends. Tobias Harris led them in scoring with 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting after his recent struggles, with five other teammates finishing in double figures.
The 76ers set the tone early, racing out to a 68-44 half-time lead, shooting a scorching 67 percent from the field, led by Joel Embiid, who scored all 14 of his points in the first half. The big man only played 23 minutes on the night, with the 76ers fast start allowing him to rest in the second half, a blueprint they will want to see more of to assist managing his minutes through the season.
The Philadelphia side scored 58 of their points in the paint, with Ben Simmons continually probing the Cavs defence - he finished with a season-high 11 assists on the night, none better than this full court touchdown to Harris. The victory will calm the early season pressure on coach Brett Brown.
Warriors' horror run continues
The Golden State Warriors struggled on the road at the New Orleans Pelicans, losing the match 108-100. Both teams were missing several integral names on the marquee due to injury, but the game was entertaining down the stretch with Pelicans' JJ Redick stealing the show with 26 points (six three-pointers).
Jrue Holiday added 22 points. Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Nicolo Melli added 19 and 16 points respectively. Alexander-Walker shot 5 three-pointers. Jaxson Hayes recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The five-time defending Western Conference champions have lost seven in a row and are just 2-12 in an injury-riddled season. With Warriors' stellar cast of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and D'Angelo Russell out injured Warriors' head coach Steve Kerr went with Draymond Green at point guard against the Pelicans.
The loss will be a big concern for the Warriors and they will be hopeful their stars can return from the injury soon enough to change their fortunes around.