Saturday afternoon featured a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center.
Unfortunately though, John Collins led the way for the Hawks and the Lakers saw their four-game winning streak snapped with a 99-94 loss.
Damian Jones was active from the jump as he scored his first basket off a designed lob then later earned a pair of free throws after a dump-off pass. However, the Lakers allowed Kevin Huerter to get off a pair of threes that put the Hawks up 14-10.
Dennis Schroder was able to snap a five-minute field goal drought with a quick drive to the rim, but Atlanta was able to take advantage of turnovers and defensive breakdowns to maintain their lead. However, Wesley Matthews caught fire from beyond the arc draining three consecutive threes and the Lakers found themselves only down 28-25. at the end of one quarter.
LeBron James turned his ankle after getting rolled up on by Solomon Hill and spent some time on the ground writhing in pain early in the second. James appeared fine as he stayed in the game and drained a 3-pointer, but later went back to the locker room looking visibly upset and was eventually ruled out for the game.
Without James on the floor, the rest of the Lakers were forced to step up and they answered the call as they managed to retake the lead midway through the quarter. Atlanta battled back by winning out on the offensive boards, but Los Angeles managed to hold on to a slim 53-52 lead at the half.
Kyle Kuzma got the nod to start in the second half with James out for the rest of the game but missed his first two attempts. The Lakers were unable to scratch for over six minutes, and things got worse as Schroder also seemed to turn his ankle. He at least managed to play through it though.
Talen Horton-Tucker was finally able to get L.A. on the board, but the team fell behind by double digits because Atlanta moved the ball for good looks. The bench unit did their best to keep the score reasonable, but the Lakers went into the fourth trailing 74-65.
The Hawks began to pull away at the top of the fourth as they got what they wanted in the paint and beyond the arc. Harrell drained a few midrange jumpers to keep the Lakers afloat, while a Markieff Morris three brought them within single digits.
Without James though, the Lakers simply could not get over the hump and came up short to snap their four-game winning streak.
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