The Los Angeles Lakers managed to pull off a close 101-96 win against the Atlanta Hawks.
The team’s offense got off to a slow start as they failed to scratch from the field until LeBron James was able to get to the basket for a layup. The defense soon picked up, turning the Hawks over and forcing misses to help ignite some transition opportunities.
Even with both teams struggling to get anything going, Atlanta managed to tie the game after hitting back-to-back threes. Anthony Davis looked to carry the offense toward the end of the quarter as he was able to convert on a few attempts but the Lakers trailed 24-25 heading into the second.
Dwight Howard fueled their defensive effort with a couple of blocks and a steal on Trae Young which helped them take the lead. Rajon Rondo also took advantage of Atlanta’s leaky defense with drives to the rim that resulted in easy layups.
Both teams then endured a rough stretch as they had trouble scoring and holding onto the ball, but Los Angeles was still able to maintain their lead due to trips to the free-throw line. James eventually began to put on a show, going between the legs to set up a dunk for Howard in transition and hitting a deep three to help the Lakers go into the half up 55-48.
It was a sloppy start to the third quarter as Los Angeles committed three quick turnovers that allowed Atlanta to go on a 7-0 run and tie the game. Head coach Frank Vogel’s timeout allowed the team to settle down and they promptly went on a 12-1 run to recapture the lead.
The Hawks were able to claw back into the game thanks to an 8-0 run sparked by Young, but Davis scored the team’s next seven points to keep them at bay. However, their miscues on the offensive end allowed Atlanta to hang around and they went into the fourth up only 82-78.
With the game close, James commandeered the offense, scoring five quick points and hitting Rondo for a three in transition to extend the Lakers lead. Despite that, the Hawks continued to answer with timely shots of their own to keep the game close.
Both Atlanta and Los Angeles turned up the defensive intensity down the stretch, forcing the other into difficult contested shots. With the Lakers only up three, the Hawks tried for a corner three to send the game into overtime but missed and Danny Green was able to ice it with a pair of free throws.