Recap: Lakers Jump Out To Early Lead And Cruise To Victory Over Hawks
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night at Arena, looking to earn their fourth straight win.

While LeBron James returned to the lineup after a one-game absence with a non-COVID illness, the Lakers were without some other key players such as Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. It didn’t matter though as the Lakers still cruised to a 130-114 victory to earn their fourth straight win, improving to 18-21 on the year.

The Lakers got off to a quick 9-2 start as Thomas Bryant drilled a 3 and then Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley and Juan Toscano-Anderson all had easy layups off Hawks turnovers. Schroder picked up where he left off in the Lakers’ last win, making his first 3 of the night as well.

Dejounte Murray was the only Hawks player that had it going early, but he kept his team in it with nine points to cut the Lakers’ lead to 15-13.

Out of a timeout though, Schroder hit another triple and Russell Westbrook went to work inside to give the Lakers their first double-digit lead, eventually going into the second quarter ahead 37-28.

The Lakers continued to lock in defensively, allowing them to get out in transition. Even Kendrick Nunn got in on the action with seven points in a four-minute span to stretch the Lakers’ lead to 20 for the first time.

L.A. continued to pour it on as Westbrook and Schroder both made 3s while the Hawks looked like they had no interest in being at the arena. Although Trae Young finally got going to close the second quarter, Nunn continued to score at the rim and the Lakers went into the halftime locker room leading 70-49.

Young stayed hot to begin the third quarter as he made a pair of 3s and then a floater to cut the Lakers’ lead to 14, forcing Darvin Ham to call timeout.

James and Beverley made some much-needed 3s out of the timeout to keep the Hawks from going on a run. With Young continuing to score at will, the Lakers were playing with fire although Bryant and James finished at the rim to get the lead back to 17 and force a Hawks timeout.

The Hawks got it back down to 10 late in the third before Nunn and Max Christie hit 3s of their own to give the Lakers a 98-82 lead going into the fourth.

To start the fourth, it was Atlanta’s turn to nail back-to-back 3s to get it back to 10. But again, the Lakers answered as Christie hit another one of his own and then Westbrook made one from the wing.

James then went into freight train mode, making his presence felt by getting to the bucket for some easy buckets. After Nunn drilled another corner 3, the Lakers’ lead was back up to 19 and the game was effectively out of reach.

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