Hawks vs. Lakers - Recap
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 96-92 at home at Philips Arena. This was the second and final meeting between these two teams this regular season. With the win, the Hawks improved to 35-29 on the season, 1-1 in the regular season series with the Lakers, and 1-1 on their back-to-back set. The starters for the Hawks were Devin Harris and Dahntay Jones in the backcourt, Anthony Tolliver and Al Horford at the two forward positions, and Johan Petro at center. Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) and Louis Williams (torn ACL, right knee) were the two inactives for the Hawks. Josh Smith (sprained left knee) did not dress. Jeff Teague (sprained left ankle) and DeShawn Stevenson (knee) dressed but did not play. Mike Scott received a DNP-CD. The leading scorer for the Hawks was Devin Harris, with 17 points. He also dished out seven assists. Kyle Korver added 15 points and six rebounds off the bench. Al Horford contributed a double-double, with 14 points and 14 boards. Ivan Johnson and John Jenkins scored 12 points apiece off the bench, with Johnson also having eight rebounds. Johan Petro also had a double-double, with 10 points and 11 boards. The leading scorer for the Lakers was Kobe Bryant, with a game-high 31 points. In the first half, the Hawks outscored the Hawks by seven and five points in the two periods, respectively. They led the Lakers 55-43 at the break. In the third quarter, however, Kobe Bryant went off for 20 points, and the Lakers cut the Hawks' lead to two heading into the final frame. In the fourth quarter, after the Hawks went up by five with 3:19 to go in the regulation, Kobe Bryant buried a turnaround three-pointer, and that cut the Hawks' lead to one. The Hawks nailed some free-throws after that, and after missing his next shot, Kobe severely sprained his ankle and left the game. The Lakers didn't score again, and the Hawks won by four. I think the key reason the Hawks won was defense. Yes, Kobe went on a tear in the third quarter, but the Hawks held the Lakers to 39.1% shooting on the night. They also held Dwight Howard to 10 points, and they did it by denying him the ball inside, not by using the Hack-a-Shaq strategy like Orlando did, as he only took three foul shots. Great win for the Hawks, avenging a one-point loss in Tinseltown.