Hawks Cruise Past Lakers With Strong Second Half
The Hawks fell behind by as many as 10 in the first quarter and were down 54-47 heading into the half after getting dominated on the glass 28-17. The Lakers, led by their frontcourt of Pau Gasol (11 points and nine boards) and Jordan Hill (13 points and six boards), worked the Hawks in the first half and had a 15-4 advantage in second chance points.
|Hawks vs. Lakers|
The Hawks could have been down by a lot more if not for the great play of the bench unit. Shelvin Mack led the Hawks with nine points in the first half and was aggressive on the offensive end going 4-of-5 from the floor. Elton Brand had a terrific first half as well, with eight points, five rebounds, three blocks, and one steal. Brand played nearly 12 minutes in the first half and had a +4 rating when he was on the floor. Mike Scott joined in and had seven of his 14 points in the first half.
“Yeah, I think [this was the second unit’s best game],” said Coach Budenholzer. “I think that group in the second quarter that we threw out with just a couple minutes to go really helped us out. Again, I think it started with that group’s defense. I think having Lou back is really big for that second group is really big and the more we can get from them and the more comfortable they are obviously that’s going to help us.”
“This is stuff we work on,” said Brand. “Al, Paul, myself, Mike Scott, the organization, they make sure that we stay ready. Guys may not play minutes, but when you come back, you’re ready. Tonight it showed…I think overall, in the second quarter, and late third and early fourth, I think this is [the bench unit’s] best effort.”
The Hawks came out and dominated the third quarter, out-scoring the Lakers 35-19. The Hawks were 14-of-27 (51.9%) from the floor and 4-of-9 (44.4%) from three-point range with 12 assists on their 14 made shots. The Hawks forced four Lakers turnovers in the quarter, and out-rebounded the Lakers 16-7 (7-1 offensive). The improvement on the boards played a huge role in the Hawks’ success as they got 10 more shot attempts than the Lakers and were able to limit Hill and Gasol to six points and two rebounds. Bud spoke about what the difference was on the glass in the second half.
“I think just our aggressiveness and our intensity. We were just able to find a way to get it done in the second half. What was hurting us a lot in the first half was the offensive rebounds. With Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol, they’re so big and so long, that everybody’s got to get involved. It’s something we’ve emphasized all year and I think we’ve slipped in that area the last two games prior to this and the first half tonight our effort wasn’t where it needs to be. In the second half, on both ends, we really attacked the boards.”
Kyle Korver finally got going, extending his three-point streak to 94, and had 11 points (3-of-4 from three) after being held scoreless in the first half and going 0-for-4 on threes. Korver’s success on the offensive end opened up the rest of the Hawks’ offense, and, as Bud said, picked up the team’s energy and confidence.
“Kyle is somebody that gives us confidence. When he starts making shots, it increases our awareness of moving the ball, our awareness of finding the open man. It probably creates more space because the defense doesn’t want to leave him. So there’s just a lot of things when Kyle’s making shots that are good habits for us.”
Al Horford and Paul Millsap got going in the third quarter as well, with both tallying 10 points and Horford added five rebounds and three assists in the quarter. The Hawks’ frontcourt duo found a rhythm against the Lakers’ bigger frontcourt, drawing them out on the perimeter and used their shooting ability from the mid-range to open up face-up driving opportunities.
The Hawks as a team dominated the second half, out-scoring the Lakers 67-46. The team shot 52.1% from the field, 50% from the three-point line, and 90% from the free throw line. They attacked the basket well, led by Jeff Teague who finished with 17 points and 10 assists, which opened up open shots from the perimeter.
The Hawks rolled through the fourth quarter, never allowing the Lakers to cut the deficit to fewer than eight points en route to the 114-100 victory. Six players finished the game in double-figures as DeMarre Carroll (13 points and six rebounds), Horford (19 points and 11 boards), Millsap (18 points and nine rebounds), Korver (11 points), Teague (17 points and 10 assists), and Scott (14 points) all had big contributions. Mack (nine points) and Brand (eight points) did not score in the second half, but had already done their part in the win, and Lou Williams struggled shooting with just five points on eight shots, but dished out eight assists on the night.
The Hawks as a team had 34 assists on 45 made shots, which was a season-high in assists (previous high was 31 in Dallas), and was the 10th game of the season for the Hawks with more than 25 assists. The Hawks played well defensively and guarded the three-point line well, holding the Lakers to 23.8% from three-point range (0-for-14 among players not named Swaggy P aka Nick Young). Young led the Lakers with 23 points, but the Hawks held Kobe Bryant to eight points and six assists, with five turnovers, on 4-of-14 shooting.
The Hawks (13-12) stay in the third spot in the East, while the Lakers (11-13) stay in the 12th spot in the West. The Hawks will be back in action Wednesday night against the Kings at home and then against the Jazz at home again on Friday.
Tweet of the Night
@ATLHawks Great win tonight to start the Holiday homestand! We got the spark we needed from Elton Brand! Go Hawks!!
— Dr. Vin Tangpricha (@vtangpricha) December 17, 2013
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images