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LeBron James (C) gets into a verbal altercation with a fan in the Los Angeles Lakers' road victory over the Atlanta Hawks

Basketball

Davis, James lead Lakers over Hawks, fans ejected

LOS ANGELES, United States, Feb 2 Anthony Davis scored 25 points and LeBron James added 21 as the Los Angeles Lakers overpowered the Atlanta Hawks on Monday to end their road trip with a hard-fought 107-99 victory.

James pulled down seven rebounds and weighed in with nine assists as well as a clutch three-pointer that gave the Lakers a 101-97 lead with just over a minute remaining at State Farm Arena.

It was the decisive blow in a game that had been halted midway through the fourth quarter after two female spectators heckled James from courtside. The women were ejected from the Arena.

Davis, meanwhile, was satisfied after a victory that left the Lakers firmly on the tail of the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz, who occupy the top two spots in the Western Conference.

“The last game of a road trip’s always tough and we didn’t want to buy into that ‘being tired, ready-to-go home’ mentality,” Davis said.

“And (Atlanta) is a good team. They were 10-9 and they came out and played like it. We dropped two already on this road trip which we hate doing, so we wanted to come out and end this trip the right way, with a victory.”

James, meanwhile, laughed off the incident that led to play being halted in the fourth quarter, revealing that the altercation began when he had exchanged words with a male spectator seated next to the women.

– ‘Happy fans are back’ –

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“At the end of the day I’m happy fans are back in the building,” James said. “I miss that interaction. I need that interaction. I don’t feel like they deserved to be kicked out.

“There was a back and forth between two grown men, he said his piece, I said my piece. And then someone else jumped in and said their piece. But I don’t think they should have been kicked out.

“They might have had a couple of drinks maybe. It’s fine. It kind of got blown out of proportion… fans in the stands, just feels better,” James said.

Trae Young led the Atlanta scorers with 25 points and 16 assists, while John Collins chipped in with 22 points. Clint Capela added 16 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.

Elsewhere on Monday, the Milwaukee Bucks romped to a 134-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland’s Nassir Little led the game scoring with 30 points, but six Bucks players made double-digit tallies as Milwaukee cruised to the win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 18 points, while Jrue Holiday had 22. Bobby Portis added 21 points off the bench.

In Denver, the Nuggets’ game against the Detroit Pistons was called off shortly before tip-off due to league health and safety protocols related to Covid-19. The NBA said in a statement that ongoing contract tracing within the Pistons had left the team unable to raise the required eight players.

In Dallas, Devin Booker nailed a three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining as the Phoenix Suns sent the Mavericks spinning to a sixth straight defeat.

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Booker finished with 24 points, while Chris Paul had 34 points in a 109-108 win at the American Airlines Center.

The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, rolled to a sixth consecutive victory with a 136-106 rout of Oklahoma City Thunder.

John Wall and Christian Wood had 18 points apiece, while Eric Gordon added 25 off the bench for the Rockets, who improved to 10-9 with the win.

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