It’s overstated at this point, but this Lakers team has a lot of fight to them. They responded to each of the Hawks’ runs, as Los Angeles snagged the W at the Philips Arena impressively on the second night of a back to back. For Atlanta, Tim Hardaway Jr. did his best Ray Allen impression leading to 26 points (5-7 from 3), former Lakers: Dwight Howard (who now knows how to shoot free throws?) had 31 points as well as 11 rebounds, Kent Bazemore had 11 points and 6 assists to go with 3 steals and Ryan Kelly had 0 points.
It was a team effort, as 6 Lakers ended up with double digits. D’Angelo Russell had a great game overall, leading the Lakers in scoring with 23 points on 9 of 19 shooting as well as 8 assists. Deng had 13 and 10, and Lou Williams had 18 points as well as 4 assists. Julius Randle did not exactly fill up the stat sheet but he showcased his passing ability as well as his defense especially his defense when he gets switched onto guards.
The Lakers started off with back to back buckets from Ivica Zubac, his first coming from a skyhook. Within a few minutes later he picked up back to back fouls trying to defend Dwight Howard. The Lakers missed all their 3 point shots in the first quarter. They kept it close, shooting around 50% after the first 12 minutes but the Hawks went on an 11-2 run to close the first quarter, ending it 37-28.
Once again the team’s inability to close quarters saw their 3 point deficit became 9 at the half despite a hot start from Jordan Clarkson and a mini run from D’Angelo Russell. Julius Randle continued to show his capabilities of initiating a fast break and pushing the pace, while attempting more jump shots. As people may joke about his wingspan being short, this guy is not short of confidence. He even took a jumper of the dribble which would be nice to see add to his arsenal.
The 4th quarter saw the Lakers finally take the lead 99-98 on a Brandon Ingram 3, his first points of the game. We got to see Ingram handle the ball a bit more, and he’s not bad. Would like to see him in a more secondary ball handler role, but he is still finding his place in the NBA. There were a few close shots that Deng missed that could have helped the Lakers put the game away. Lou Williams played the role of savvy veteran as he drained a 3 as the shot clock expired, then on the next offensive possession, was able to find LNJ for a dunk and was credited with the assist. With the Lakers up 118-114, Julius Randle had the game sealing block on Dennis Schroeder. The next play, D’Angelo Russell found Nick Young for the three to ice the game and put LA up 121-114. They held on for a win 123-116. What’s more impressive to me is this is the second game of a back to back and the Lakers played fantastically.
Lakers had 25 fast break points, capitalizing on blocks and turnovers for the game. They ended their offensive woes as overall they shot 54% from the field compared to Atlanta’s 48% and overcame 52 points allowed in the paint. After the first three quarters saw LA give up a slew of points towards the end resulting in the deficit, they buckled down offensively and defensively for their first road win of the season. Friday the 2-3 Lakers will face the toughest test of the young season as they will be facing the Golden State Warriors. Who are, wait for it, 3-1 to start the season.