The Los Angeles Lakers ended their six-game road trip on a sour note as they lost to the Atlanta Hawks, 129-121.
Anthony Davis returned to the starting lineup and was active early, blocking a shot and scoring seven of the Lakers’ first 11 points. Both teams struggled to get any stops, but Los Angeles stayed slightly ahead as Russell Westbrook found Davis several times near the rim.
Malik Monk also was re-inserted back as a starter and made his usual impact on the offensive end, hitting outside shots and dishing as a secondary ball-handler. Trae Young and the Hawks were able to take advantage of a few bad turnovers, and the Lakers would go into the second trailing 34-33.
Defense was optional at the top of the period as both sides found it easy to get the shots they wanted, with Carmelo Anthony and Talen Horton-Tucker leading the way for L.A. Davis came back into the game and the Laker defense instantly improved though the Hawks continued to knock down midrange jumpers.
Los Angeles turnovers once again undid some of the positive momentum they built which resulted in easy points for Young. However, the Lakers did a better job of trapping Young and forcing him into mistakes and they would end up going into the half leading 71-62 after a Monk buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
The Lakers shot an incredible 71% in the first half, making their final 10 shots to close out the second quarter.
Stanley Johnson knocked down his first shot of the contest from the corner, while Westbrook followed it up with a three of his own to put the Lakers up 77-69. Atlanta immediately responded with a 12-0 run thanks to Young and Clint Capela, putting L.A. down by two.
The two teams were evenly matched midway through the quarter as they traded baskets, but Johnson went on a quick 4-0 spurt to put the Lakers back up. L.A.’s role players did a great job of making plays on both ends and they would go into the fourth with a 101-91 lead.
Monk stayed hot from the field after draining his sixth triple of the afternoon, but the Hawks battled back to pull within six. Despite a couple of dunks from Davis, Atlanta pulled ahead as Onyeka Okongwu got loose in the lane.
Johnson was able to briefly tie the game at 116-116, but Okongwu continued to dominate the painted area. The game came down to the final minute, but after Young hit a 3-pointer, Monk failed to convert on his and the Lakers would go home with another tough loss.
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