The Los Angeles Lakers have finally won their third game of the season after losing seven straight. The Lakers beat the Washington Wizards in a thriller where Kobe Bryant had a vintage fourth quarter performance, including a go-ahead jumper in the final minute of the game.
The Lakers will look to extend their streak tonight against the Atlanta Hawks, who are a talented team that is coming off of a loss to the Toronto Raptors. This will be Kobe Bryant’s final trip to Atlanta, and he was honored by the Atlanta Zoo. The Zoo named their Black Mamba “Kobe” as an homage to Kobe.
The Hawks got off to a quick start on the Lakers scoring seven unanswered points, as the Lakers struggled to put the ball in the hoop, missing their first ten attempts. Roy Hibbert finally dunked the ball for the Lakers’ first points after grabbing the offensive rebound with 7:36 remaining in the quarter. The Hawks hot shooting cooled down significantly, but the Lakers failed to capitalize, and the Lakers trailed the Hawks by five points with 3:44 left in the first. Lou Williams, in a homecoming game of his own, came out firing, knocking down back-to-back threes, but the Hawks were able to weather the storm and still lead by seven with just a few minutes left in the quarter. The Lakers picked up the defensive intensity for the final two minutes of the first, but the Hawks still led the Lakers 23-19 at the end of the first quarter.
After Kobe nearly turned the ball over, the Lakers salvaged the possession and swung the ball around the perimeter until Williams found Brandon Bass down low for a dunk. Both teams struggled from the field, but the Hawks struggled less than the Lakers, and they extended their lead to 13 points with 6:43 remaining in the half. D’Angelo Russell temporarily stopped the bleeding when he hit his second three of the game from the corner. After Russell’s three-pointer, the Hawks scored six unanswered points and extended their lead to 16 with 4:52 left in the second quarter. The Lakers shot only 33 percent from the field, and the Hawks lead by as many as 19 points, but at the end of the first half the Hawks led 52-36.
D’Angelo Russell came out of the locker room on a mission, as he scored or assisted on the Lakers first 10 points of the half. No matter how hot the Lakers came out, they could not stop the Hawks on the defensive end, and they trailed by 15 with 8:36 remaining in the third. A sweeping left-handed hook shot from Hibbert cut the Lakers deficit to 13 points halfway through the third. The Lakers fans at Philips Arena came to life when Kobe hit back-to-back threes and cut the Hawks lead down to just seven points, and the “Kobe” chants echoed through the crowd. Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson began a surge for the Lakers as they scored with aggression and defended well in the last few minutes of the third. After three the Hawks were on top 72-66.
The Hawks started the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run, and the Lakers struggled to find the basket despite good ball movement. With 7:26 left in the game, D’Angelo Russell grabbed his tenth rebound, giving him his first career double-double, and on the other end Larry Nance Jr. scored to cut the deficit to six points. After playing even for a few minutes, Kobe found Williams in transition in the corner for a three and the Lakers only trailed 81-85 with 5:59 remaining in the game. After the Lakers had cut their deficit to four points, the Hawks scored four unanswered points of their own and extended their lead to eight points with 3:45 remaining in the ballgame. With 2:05 left in the game, Paul Millsap made two free throws to extend the Hawks lead to 12 points, and the Lakers had their backs against the wall. The Hawks ran away with the game as the Lakers fell apart.
Final score: Hawks 100, Lakers 87