The Los Angeles Lakers closed out their seven-game road trip on a solid note by getting a 107-99 win over Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks to improve to 16-6 overall and 5-2 record on the East Coast stint.
The Hawks started the game on an extremely sloppy note, turning the ball over twice and shooting just 1-of-5 in the opening minutes. The Lakers were able to take advantage, leading 9-2 at the 8:45 mark of the first quarter.
The Hawks steadily climbed back thanks to improved 3-point shooting. Meanwhile, one of the big offensive stories for the Lakers was the poor shooting from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who has been far from his usual self on this road trip.
He started 1-of-5 from the field before being subbed out. Points in the paint defined L.A.’s attack in the first, as they were able to score at will from close range. The Lakers had 22 paint points compared to the Hawks’ eight, and led 28-25 after one.
The Lakers’ offense fell into a major drought to begin the second quarter, as they didn’t hit their first field goal until the 7:20 mark. This opened the flood gates, as they scored on their next seven possessions, but could only hold a 45-43 lead at the 3:30 mark.
Young did his best James Harden impression in the final minutes of the half, drawing several fouls and frustrating multiple defenders. It didn’t result to much on the scoreboard, as L.A. went into the half holding a slim 50-46 lead.
The Lakers were ahead despite shooting just 2-for-11 from three. They were led by Anthony Davis and Montrezl Harrell, who each had 12 points on a combined 9-of-9 from the field.
The second half began with the Lakers in control, extending their lead all the way to nine. However, it wasn’t long before Young took over with his speed and quick decision-making on drives to the basket. He closed the gap to 57-54 with 8:05 to go in the third.
Young reached a double-double midway through the quarter, getting his 10th assist. On the Lakers side, it was Davis whose dominance was keeping the Hawks at arms length. He had 22 points on 9-for-10 from the field as the Lakers led by just two with 2:50 left in the third.
A late quarter run by the Hawks gave them a lead as big as six points, but L.A. closed the gap before the buzzer sounded. Heading into the fourth quarter it was the Hawks holding a 76-75 advantage.
As was the case in the win over the Boston Celtics, the Lakers’ defense completely shifted gear once the final quarter began. An 11-0 run in the first three minutes allowed the Lakers to go up 86-76 forcing a Hawks timeout.
The lineup of Harrell, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker — which was a plus-13 against the Celtics — was the catalyst for this run.
Following the quick spurt, the Hawks were able to climb back into the game by forcing some turnovers and attacking the rim. They pulled to a three-point game before James and Caruso re-entered to provide a spark in the closing minutes.
Some sloppy possessions from Atlanta — including a Young technical foul — allowed L.A. to regain a 10-point advantage with 3:42 remaining. The Hawks still continued to chip away, but a basket by Davis and James 3-pointer effectively sealed it for the Lakers.
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