The Lakers were looking to make an example out of the Hawks on Tuesday night with the season debut of “Swaggy P” aka Nick Young. It’s been a long time since anyone could remember: A) The Lakers roster looking unrecognizable and B) a regular season starting this bad with a (1-9) record.
The Hawks had a better record and looked healthier coming into the game. The game started off fast and the Lakers took control of the 1st Quarter quickly. The Hawks were outscored 20-31 in the 1st Quarter and 32-36 in the 2nd Quarter. Paul Millsap led the charge for the Hawks with 19 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals in the 1st Half. But the Half truly belonged to the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, and Jeremy Lin were already in double figures by halftime. Kobe had 19 points, Boozer had 18, and Jeremy Lin registered 12.
The Hawks were able to turn things around in the 3rd Quarter outscoring the Lake-Show 31-24. Better ball distribution saw more players scoring more frequently. Thabo Sefolosha had an impactful 3rd Quarter scoring 7 points and 5 rebounds. Jeff Teague had 9 points and 2 assists.
Although the Lakers were outscored in the 3rd, center Jordan Hill kept them in the game with his 12-point contribution. The 4th Quarter was where the Laker bigs Jordan Hill and Ed Davis came up big, providing 11 rebounds for their team (which was 2 more than the Hawks entire team that quarter).
As the game came down to the wire with 3 minutes left, the turning point of the game came with those impactful rebounds from Jordan Hill and Ed Davis. Aside from the Hawks being woefully out-rebounded, the Lakers received a gift in a horrific call on Kyle Korver who “supposedly” fouled Nick Young while attempting a 3-point shot.
While he only made 1 of his 3 free throws, they came up big on defense and were able to hold off the Hawks in the final seconds. Free throws were a key point in the game for the Hawks. While they shot 78.3% from the free throw line (18/23), had they made those 5 baskets the game would’ve been tied and went into overtime.
The final score was 114-109 and the Lakers improved to a (2-9) record. Carlos Boozer finished with a double-double (20 points & 10 rebounds), as did Jordan Hill (18 points & 10 rebounds) and Jeremy Lin (15 points & 10 assists).
Paul Millsap has been in beast-mode this entire month. He had another 30-point game plus 4 steals, 2 blocked shots, and 4 rebounds. Jeff Teague, who’s also been playing well, put up 23 points and shot 100% from the free throw line (6/6).
The Hawks are now (5-5) after the close loss to the Lakers. Their next game is Friday, November 21 against the Detroit Pistons.