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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Hawks – Game 39

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (18-21) | Atlanta Hawks (18-21)

 

The Lake Show won their fourth straight game without Anthony Davis, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 130-114

 

Lakers vs Hawks
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a 10-day contract with five-year NBA veteran G/F Sterling Brown; sources told Jovan Buha. Brown played for Raptors 905 in the G-League this season and should bring some wing depth to the Lakers. Fun fact, Brown is the younger brother of former Laker Shannon Brown. Brown was available to play against the Hawks and wore No. 9.

To no surprise, the Lakers guaranteed Austin Reaves’ and Wenyen Gabriel’s contracts for the rest of the season. However, Reaves was diagnosed with a left hamstring strain and will be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks. Lonnie Walker IV was also diagnosed with left knee tendinitis and will be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks.

In addition to those injuries, Troy Brown Jr. (left quad strain) and Damian Jones (right toe soreness) were ruled out for the game vs. Atlanta. On the bright side, Russell Westbrook (left foot soreness) and LeBron James (left ankle soreness) were available vs. Atlanta

With all their injuries, it’s a good thing that LA called up some help in the form of Brown, who has familiarity with Darvin Ham from his time in Milwaukee.

The Lakers’ starters vs. Atlanta were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Juan Toscano-Anderson, LeBron James, and Thomas Bryant.

Bryant kicked the game off with a spot up three from the right wing, Schroder continued his scoring ways, Beverley picked Dejounte Murray’s pocket and converted the transition bucket. Before you knew it, the Lake Show had a 9-2 lead right out of the gate. 

Their scoring run wouldn’t last forever, and Murray responded with back-to-back buckets. Before the Lakers knew it, the Hawks retaliated with an 11-6 run of their own, with nine points being scored by Murray already.

Gabriel continued his hectic ways and secured the offensive rebound while also scoring the second chance points. He was showing more energy now that he’s got guaranteed money. After Kendrick Nunn got a free bucket in transition, the Lake Show led the Hawks 33-21 with 2:16 left in the first quarter.

It was a strong effort for the shorthanded Lakers to produce a 37-28 lead over Atlanta. LA made 57.7% of their shots and held Atlanta to 40.9%, with just two turnovers for LA, compared to Atlanta’s four. It was also the Lakers’ highest-scoring first quarter of the season.

Heading into the second quarter, Max Christie ran in transition, and James found him for an easy two-handed flush. A confidence booster for the rookie, but Nunn got a boost of his own off a wide-open three, courtesy of the King. Nunn had it going from then on, as he made a slick bounce pass to Toscano-Anderson for a contested layup.

The Lake Show handled the Hawks easily, securing a 19-point lead at 51-32 with 7:32 left in the first half. Atlanta wasn’t doing much to help themselves, though, as they were shooting just 30.6% (11-36) from the field and 18.2% (2-11) from three. 

Westbrook got in on the fun with a three-pointer. It’s always a good time when Brodie is making threes. Schroder followed that up with his third three-pointer of the half, securing a massive 25-point lead. It’s a bit bittersweet to be on the other end of these blowouts, but there was still a whole other half left to play.

But of course, Westbrook got overconfident and air-balled a three, classic Russ. James got uncharacteristic, as he somehow dribbled the ball off his foot on a spin move out of the post. He made up for it by converting a tough layup that almost looked like he would posterize the defender.

Westbrook did it again, wedging the ball between the rim and the glass. We cut him some slack since they were still up by 26 points, but a professional basketball player shouldn’t be that far off on any shot attempt.

 

At halftime, the score read Lakers 70, Hawks 49. It was a remarkable first half, and it was their largest halftime lead of the season. Five players were already in double figures, led by Nunn with 15 points. LA dominated points in the paint (42-16) and fast break points (22-3).

 

Lakers vs Hawks
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

To begin the third quarter, the Lake Show kicked it off with a turnover by James that led to a three by Murray, and their second possession was more of the same as Schroder air-balled a layup. Bryant finessed Trae Young as he was able to draw a foul call on him. Bryant must’ve taken some acting classes because it didn’t look like Young hit him in the face at all.

Atlanta was making a comeback, though, as they had outscored the Lake Show 17-8 early in the third quarter, cutting the Laker lead to 12 points. However, back-to-back threes by King James and Pat Bev kept the Lakers comfortably ahead.

The Hawks worked the lead down to 13 points once more but were countered by back-to-back buckets, a put-back from Bryant, and a coast-to-coast layup from James had the lead back up to 17 points at 88-71 with 4:31 left in the third quarter.

Young went nuclear with 17 points in the third quarter, aiding Atlanta as they cut the lead down to 10, but Nunn and Christie hit back-to-back threes in the final 35 seconds of the third quarter to send LA into the fourth with a 98-82 lead after the Hawks had cut a once 26-point lead.

The first two minutes of the fourth quarter were fast-paced, with the scoring split being 8-6 in the Hawks’ favor. However, Nunn continued his hot streak with another three, forcing Atlanta into a timeout. The break didn’t change anything for the Hawks, though, as they gave up a huge two-handed slam to King James.

Young was keeping Atlanta energized as he hit a transition jumper, but James came right back on a give-and-go for another dunk. Ice Trae countered with a lob and dunk to John Collins, who caught Gabriel lacking and drew the foul.

There’s no doubt that Christie has a ton of untapped potential and has some raw skills, but being inexperienced is a major downfall, and Murray took advantage of that, getting the rook in the air and drawing the foul.

Despite James being on the bench, Ham was confident in his guys. Even with the game still competitive with less than three minutes left, Westbrook dished it off to Bryant for a two-handed dunk, and the Lakers were back up to a 16-point lead. This game was chalked up after Ham had deployed some of the reserves. The final score read LA 130 and ATL 114.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Hawks
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

King James finished with 25 points, ten rebounds, and seven assists and finished 1-5 from three. Bryant had 19 points on 8-12 from the field and 13 rebounds. Schroder continued cooking with 21 points off 5-8 from three. Westbrook was exemplary off the bench with 18 points on 2-4 from three, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Nunn finally had his best game of the year with 23 points.

Young still did his thing with 32 points, five rebounds, nine assists, and three steals, but he did commit six turnovers and shot 2-7 from three. Collins had 16 points and eight rebounds but was 0-5 from three. Murray had 16 points and six assists. De’Andre Hunter had 16 points and eight rebounds.

LA won a fourth straight game, and fifth in six contests, to improve to 6-5 since Davis got hurt (7-5, including the Denver game he exited in the 1st half) and 18-21 overall.

 

The Lakers will now take on the Sacramento Kings. They’ll face off on Saturday, January 7th, at 7:00 p.m. PT at the Golden 1 Center. The game will be available on NBC Sports California and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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