James jaws with Atlanta fans, leads Lakers past Hawks 107-99

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) is restrained by an official as he reacts to a fan in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA – There weren't many fans in the stands, but enough for LeBron James to get in some jawing along the sideline.

He didn't mind a bit — especially after the Lakers closed out a nearly two-week-long trip with another victory.

“Fans in the stands is just better,” James said with a smile.

Anthony Davis scored 25 points and James dominated down the stretch as the Lakers held off the Atlanta Hawks 107-99 on Monday night.

During the fourth quarter, James got into a brief verbal confrontation with a female fan who pulled down her mask to make a point.

The referees halted the game and called in security officers, who appeared to eject the fan from State Farm Arena. There was a socially distanced crowd of 1,341 for the lone Atlanta visit by the reigning NBA champions.

James said it was no big deal. In fact, he didn't think the fan should've been tossed.

“At the end of the day, I'm just happy fans are back in the building,” he said. “I missed that interaction. I need that interaction.”