Hawks vs. Lakers - Recap
The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 99-98 on the road at the Staples Center. This was the fifth game of a six-game road trip for the Hawks. This was also the first of two meetings between these two teams this regular season. With the loss, the Hawks dropped to 33-25 on the season, 3-2 on their road trip, and 0-1 in their regular season series with the Lakers. The starters for the Hawks were Jeff Teague and DeShawn Stevenson in the backcourt, Josh Smith and Al Horford at the two forward positions, and Zaza Pachulia at center. The two inactives for the Hawks were Louis Williams (torn ACL, right knee) and Mike Scott (NBDL assignment). John Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler received DNP-CDs. The leading scorer for the Hawks was Al Horford, with 24 points, extending his career-high streak of games with 20+ points to nine. He also grabbed five boards. Josh Smith added 19 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Devin Harris and Kyle Korver contributed 16 points apiece off the bench. Harris also had six dimes, while Korver also had five boards. The leading scorer for the Lakers was Kobe Bryant, with a game-high 34 points. In the first quarter, the Hawks allowed 30 points and trailed by four after one. In the second quarter, the Lakers outscored the Hawks 22-19, and the Hawks trailed 52-45 at the half. In the third quarter, Devin Harris scored 12 of his 16 points for the Hawks, and the Hawks cut the Lakers' lead to 79-73 heading into the final frame. In the fourth quarter, an Al Horford dunk gave the Hawks the lead, 84-83, with 8:12 to play in regulation. Kobe Bryant, however, scored 11 points in the period for the Lakers, including the final six points for the Lakers. His final shot was a driving layup over Smith and Horford that gave the Lakers a 99-98 lead. On the final Hawks possession, Josh Smith caught a pass under the basket, and it was intercepted by Steve Blake as he tried to pass it back out to the perimeter, and the Hawks lost by one. I think the key reason the Hawks lost was free-throw shooting. The Hawks shot 53.3% from the charity stripe (thanks in large part to a 0-for-6 night at the line from Josh Smith), compared to 72.2% for the Lakers. Even Dwight Howard hit more free-throws than Smith. If Smith had even gone 1-for-6, it would've been a tie game, and if he had gone 2-for-6, the Hawks would've won. Tough loss for the Hawks, as now they will have to win at the Pepsi Center in order to have a winning road trip, and the Denver Nuggets have only lost three games at home all season.