Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Hawks – Game 36

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (15-21) | Atlanta Hawks (17-19)

 

The Lake Show was gifted a present for LeBron James’ 38th birthday as he guided them to victory over the Atlanta Hawks 130-121

 

Lakers vs Hawks
Photo Credit: Hakim Wright Sr./AP

There was a report within the last two weeks that Anthony Davis reportedly will ‘definitely’ be sidelined until at least mid-January. Darvin Ham told reporters, “the biggest thing is, his pain has just about dissipated,” and also said that Davis is trending in the right direction.

Davis told reporters, “Feeling a lot better. The pain has subsided tremendously.” initially, they thought it was a fracture and a bone spur in his foot. The next day, they said it was a stress reaction in the navicular bone.

Unfortunately for the Lake Show, they had another injury to deal with, as Lonnie Walker IV was out due to a tailbone contusion. Trae Young sat Atlanta’s last game with a calf contusion, but, of course, he returned to play against the Lakers.

The Lake Show’s starters in Atlanta were Dennis Schroder, Austin Reaves, Patrick Beverley, LeBron James, and Thomas Bryant.

The game’s first three minutes were borderline boring, as the score was 6-2 in Atlanta’s favor. Until King James got the ball in transition for a one-handed slam that should’ve been an and-1 had the referees looked his way.

AJ Griffin caught fire early on, hitting back-to-back threes, which helped Atlanta secure a nine-point lead. Young drove inside and converted the and-1 layup, but it felt like the refs just gave him the foul because he cried out aloud. Wenyen Gabriel had a big-time block on the defensive end that led to the first three of the game for the Lake Show, courtesy of Reaves.

Heading into the second quarter, Atlanta rode in with a scoring run that leaked over to eight straight unanswered points for the Hawks. James ended that streak with a three, but the Lake Show still found themselves down 38-28 with 9:30 left in the first half.

Beverley unexpectedly made a floating layup over a defender, but that didn’t matter because Bogdan Bogdanovic rose over a Laker for a silky smooth three. John Collins is a big guy, standing at 6’9, but King James bulldozed his way through to an and-1 layup.

Young had supposedly exited the game due to a back contusion, so that was the opportunity for the Lake Show to take control. While knowing that, they still could not defend to save their lives and fell back down to a 13-point deficit. Their offensive efficiency was a bright spot, but we all know that defense matters more.

When Ice Trae reentered the game, the Lakers had managed to cut the lead to eight, with the primary catalyst being their 7-0 run. James played some excellent defense on Dejounte Murray, but because the rest of the Lakers couldn’t box out, Atlanta got the second chance points, nullifying the effort that the king had put in.

Russell Westbrook earned himself a technical foul after arguing with the referees for not calling a foul on a play that ended up with Brodie on the floor. This was a bit concerning as, following that play, Young was able to draw a call on a lesser-deserving play. The referees must’ve had money on the Hawks or something because the officiating was a bit one-sided at this point of the game. Young, in particular, got two calls in the first half that appeared the league was trying to get rid of, specifically when Young backed into defenders while going up for his jump shot.

 

At halftime, the score read Hawks 67, Lakers 62. The Lake Show outscored Atlanta 20-10 to close the half. However, LA’s nine turnovers kept them playing from behind. Another problem was that the Hawks had six more shot attempts thanks to seven offensive rebounds.

 

Lakers vs Hawks
Photo Credit: Hakim Wright Sr./AP

James began the second half with a flashy behind-the-back pass to Reaves, who didn’t do anything with it, but he did sling it over to Bryant for a smooth jumper from the charity stripe. James continued to roll with a similar shot he made the other night with a slick fadeaway jumper on the baseline, which is way tougher to pull off than it looks.

Bron had another flashy finish at the rim, ducking a defender mid-air for a one-handed jam, but it was for naught as Collins had an easy layup in transition. Their defense was still problematic, but their turnovers were becoming a glaring problem once more as they coughed it up 11 times, resulting in 13 points for the Hawks, with five of those coming from the king himself. The Lake Show trailed 79-70 with seven minutes left in the third quarter.

The Lake Show then had a second wind, going on a 7-0 run, capped off with Schroder making a crazy pass mid-air with multiple Hawks surrounding him, to Juan Toscano-Anderson for a three in the corner to cut the lead to just two points.

Westbrook found King James in transition, and he scored to take the lead. Now that they fought back, it was a brand new ball game, with the Lake Show in the lead at 84-83 with 3:24 left in the third. James initially missed a fast break layup, but no one was there to grab the miss. Jalen Johnson rushed in but lost his balance as Bron snagged the ball from him and put it back in for an and-1; it was his birthday, and he was playing his tail off to make sure this one ended up in the win column.

Heading into the third quarter, the Lakers struggled offensively without James on the floor. The Hawks took advantage and retook the lead with a 6-2 run to kick the fourth quarter off. The King subbed back in and quickly got a three to fall to retake the lead, all praise to the Lake Show’s savior. Bron’s confidence peaked when he rose above a Hawks defender from a step behind the arc to take a 108-105 lead with 7:27 left in the fourth quarter.

James started to get double coverage, and he noticed that as he bounced passed to Bryant inside for a two-handed flush. Toscano-Anderson’s confidence was up as he drained a three from the corner and after another three from James, the Lake Show led 117-113 with 3:20 left.

The King was on another level. He scored in traffic with three Hawks defenders on him and drew the foul for the and-1 opportunity. Just as importantly, that play took Collins out of the game, as he acquired his sixth and final foul. With the game in its final two minutes, James opted for his same fallaway jumper on the baseline to take a six-point lead. 

The momentum was high, and the Lake Show capitalized. Westbrook took advantage of a fallen Murray and took the ball to spark a fastbreak that ended with an easy lay-in from Bryant. This game was over, and the final score read Lakers 130, Hawks 121. The Lake Show won on James’ 38th birthday to improve to 4-5 since AD went out.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Hawks
Photo Credit: ABC7 Los Angeles

King James dominated the game, a season-high 47 points with 4-6 from three, ten rebounds, and nine assists. It was just an absurd performance, MVP worthy. Bryant quietly had a solid outing himself with 19 points on 8-10 from the field, along with an impressive 17 rebounds. Westbrook finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists off the bench.

Ice Trae did all he could with 29 points and eight assists but was held to 0-4 from three. Murray did his thing with 20 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Onyeka Okongwu filled in for Clint Capela with 17 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. Johnson and Bogdanovic combined for 32 points off the bench but were also a combined 4-16 from three.

The Lake Show outrebounded the Hawks 55-41 and out-assisted them 34-22. The Lakers still lost the turnover battle 16-10 but outscored Atlanta 23-5 on the fastbreak and in the paint 74-56. Atlanta lost despite leading by 15 points at one point of the game.

 

The Lakers will now travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Charlotte Hornets. They’ll face off on Monday, January 2nd, at 4:00 p.m. PT at the Spectrum Center. The game will be available on Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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