The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers last night in a game where the Lakers led for the entire first half. In the first half, Atlanta struggled on defense to contain the Lakers’ bench players. Nick Young, Jordan Hill and Xavier Henry had some of their best games of the season. Young was a force on the offensive end on a night where the Lakers needed him in order to compete. In the game, he hit five three-pointers and led the Lakers with 23 points. Hill was even more impressive in last night’s game scoring 21 points by going 8-for-8 from the field and recording nine rebounds in the loss. Henry continues to impress with the Lakers, and last night was no different as he posted 18 points in the defeat. These three players tried to guide the Lakers to a win, but the Hawks’ total team effort proved to be too much for the Lakers to handle.
The third quarter for the Hawks was the difference in the game. Atlanta quickly erased a seven point deficit at halftime and went on to have their best third quarter performance of the season. In the third quarter, Atlanta had a season-high 35 points whereas Los Angeles only had 19 points in the quarter. Kyle Korver led the charge for the Hawks in the third quarter. During one stretch, he recorded eight points in a row leading the Hawks during their 17-2 run that quickly erased the Lakers’ lead. In fact, Korver scored all of his 11 points in the third quarter propelling the Hawks to victory. But he wasn’t the only one that contributed to the Hawks win as the whole team gave a complete effort in order to defeat the Lakers.
Every starter for Atlanta in last night’s game recorded double-digit points. Al Horford led the Hawks with 19 points and 11 rebounds, but Jeff Teague made the offense go. Teague recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists after struggling the previous week, and the Hawks needed it. When Teague plays at a very high level the offense runs a whole lot smoother. A lot of players get more opportunities to showcase their talent, and this showed last night in the Hawks’ win. Elton Brand, Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack all benefited from Teague’s high level of play. Brand had his best game of the season with the Hawks recording eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks in a dominating performance off the bench. His play in the first half kept Atlanta in the game due to his physicality down low and ability to hit the mid-range jumper.
Scott’s play on the offensive end provided the Hawks with another legitimate scoring option off the bench. In one of his better performances, Scott scored 14 points in limited minutes and his offense really helped Atlanta achieve victory. Mack continues to develop his game with the Hawks this season. He has seen increased minutes with the team and rightfully so. In the win over the Lakers, Mack came off the bench to score nine points and two assists in the game. If he continues to polish his game, Atlanta may have found a key piece off the bench for future success. The Hawks will need their bench to produce at a high level this season in order to make the playoffs. As evidenced by last night, when Atlanta gives a total team effort the Hawks are almost unstoppable.