Hawks @ Lakers — Things of Note

Graham Chapple —  November 28, 2016
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks’ suffered their second defeat of the season to Los Angeles Lakers, 94-109, in L.A. The Lakers (who were without D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle) were led by Lou Williams’ 21 bench points while Jordan Clarkson added another 18 off of the bench. This latest loss is Atlanta’s fifth in sixth games and the sixth game in a row where the Hawks have failed to crack 100 points.

Hawks unable to maintain hot start

The Hawks started this game really well, flying out of the traps for 32 first quarter points and they looked great on both ends of the floor. They built up a 13 point lead before the Lakers and their fantastic second unit rallied in the second quarter, outscoring the Hawks 35-16 in the period. Nick Young and Larry Nance Jr. put together great individual quarters, and the Lakers’ ability to switch on pick-and-rolls bothered the Hawks enough and it helped the Lakers get back into this game.

“We played a very good first quarter. They made a run and we kind of panicked after that.” — Thabo Sefolosha

The offense — which has been pretty awful of late — was actually looking good in that first quarter. I liked how the Hawks played with pace, it seemed to cause the Lakers some issues but after the first quarter things seemed to slow down.

“After a good first quarter, I think we weren’t able to sustain it. Offensively, our ball movement and our people movement needs to be better from the start of the game to the end of the game.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer

Dwight Howard looked as though he was going to have a monster game after he scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first quarter but was unable to carry this momentum from that point on.

Howard had himself a dunk-fest in the first quarter but the Lakers made adjustedments and stuck bodies onto Dwight. Tarik Black in particular set the tone in the second quarter of what was to come, he was glued to Dwight and was able to disrupt multiple lob attempts toward the Atlanta native.

Disrupting lob attempts and cutting off passing lanes. Here, Dennis is gets past Jordan Clarkson and once he gets to the baseline he wants to dump the ball off to Dwight underneath the rim. Tarik Black (who gets a decent shove in the back from Dwight) does an excellent job to deny the pass and Dennis is forced to chuck the ball out toward the perimeter. Dennis heads for the corner himself, receives the ball from Kyle Korver and shoots a bad three-pointer.

Dwight would eventually finish the game with 19 points and nine rebounds, but his impact was certainly reduced from the second quarter onwards, and Tarik Black set the tone in that regard.

Lou Williams’ fourth quarter 

The Hawks had cut the Laker lead to just four points early in the fourth quarter but had no answer for former Hawk Lou Williams. Williams entered the fourth quarter with just eight points and then proceeded to go off for 13 fourth quarter points to lead the Lakers to the season series sweep. And speaking of Lou Williams, how about this for a stat?

That’s pretty decent company, and the Hawks know only too well of Lou’s scoring capabilities. Kyle Korver would know, he’s played with Williams on multiple teams (Atlanta and Philadelphia).

“Once he gets going, he’s a really tough player. He’s been like that for a long time.” — Kyle Korver

Once Lou got going this game got away from the Hawks quickly but fear not, for Dennis Schröder was able to effectively run the offense, as the game was getting away, to mount a Hawks comeback (please note the sarcasm).

Here, he completely ignores the obvious Muscala-Lou Williams mismatch.

What was he hoping to achieve here by driving to the top of the paint? Clarkson always had that lane covered.

And following the foul on Muscala’s offensive rebound, Dennis gets switched onto Larry Nance, directs traffic away to set up the isolation play before using his speed to drive past Nance to get to the rim for a high percentage shot.

Just kidding. Dennis does indeed direct traffic away from the mismatch but decides to just chuck a three instead and it misses. Absolutely horrible. Come on, Dennis.

One sided bench battle

Against the best scoring bench in the entire league, the Hawks sure could’ve used a boost from their bench last night and they didn’t get it. Before garbage time in the fourth quarter, only Malcolm Delaney (four points) and Mike Muscala (10 points) managed to get the bench on the score sheet. For the Lakers, Lou Williams scored 21 off the bench, Jordan Clarkson added another 18, Larry Nance Jr. registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and to top that all off Brandon Ingram and Tarik Black added seven points apiece.

In total, the Lakers’ bench outscored the Hawks’ bench 65-24, 10 of those 24 bench points for the Hawks coming in garbage time. Ouch.

Free throw discrepancy

The only made it to the free throw line on ten occasions last night, converting only four of their freebies. The Lakers on the other hand went to the free throw line 20 times, converting 14 times. It was surprising, given the nature of some of the matchups (e.g. Dennis Schröder on José Calderon, Paul Millsap on the young Larry Nance Jr.) that the Hawks didn’t shoot more free throws.

Baze’s bounces back, Millsap struggled

Kent Bazemore was really struggling coming into this game but put together the bounce-back game he desperately needed against his former team. He finished with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range, despite going cold in the fourth quarter. He looked a little more confident with his stroke and that’s encouraging to see going forward. If being in the building he used to call home draws a little more out of him, hopefully he can follow this strong performance up tonight in another building he used to call home: Oracle Arena.

While Baze was much better last night, Paul Millsap struggled: nine points on 4-of-11 shooting. Millsap should’ve been able to impose himself a little more against Larry Nance Jr. — and on the game in general — but wasn’t able to do so. And if Millsap struggled against Larry Nance Jr. and Thomas Robinson, he may have his hands full against Draymond Green and Kevin Durant tonight.

Laker fans never forget…

Four seasons after the disastrous 2012-13 Lakers season — where the Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol Lakers fell flat on their face — Laker fans continue to boo Dwight.

When asked about it postgame, Dwight said he couldn’t hear anything.

“I closed my ears.” — Dwight Howard

Couldn’t hear anything? Riiiiiiiight… This was either complete BS or a jab at Laker fans to boo louder next time.

Up next

The Hawks (10-7) have little time to lick their wounds as they travel to the Bay Area to take on the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena. This road trip may end up in tears…

Game stats: NBA.com
Hawks quotes: The AJC via Chris Vivlamore
Lakers quotes: Daily News via Mark Medina

Graham Chapple