Two nights after playing one of their best defensive games of the year in a thrilling 88-85 win over Charlotte on the road, the Los Angeles Lakers defense fell apart defending the 3-pointer as the Atlanta Hawks sank 11-of-27 3’s on their way to a 114-100 win Monday night.
Atlanta converted 40.7% of their outside shots while the Lakers made just 23.8% (five-of-21 3’s). The perimeter defense was practically nonexistent as the Hawks had uncontested outside shot after shot.
“In the third quarter, I thought our aggressiveness and our intensity on the defensive end set the tone for a good second half,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the Associated Press. “Great intensity. Great aggressiveness and I think we played off of our defense. We moved the ball well. We found the open guy. That’s how we want to play.”
Kyle Korver scored all 11 of his points (including three 3-pointers) in the third quarter and Al Horford added 10 of his 18 points as the Hawks outscored the Lakers, 35-19 to lead, 82-73 heading into the final quarter.
“I thought they came out much more aggressive, much more physical, every loose ball, every long rebound,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told the AP. “We just wilted. … We didn’t gut it out tonight.”
In the first half, the Lakers had a strong frontcourt attack led by Jordan Hill (13 points and 6 rebounds) and Pau Gasol (11 points and 9 rebounds) as they jumped out to 54-47 halftime lead. Nick Young chipped in with 12 points.
Young finished with a game-high 23 points, Hill had 21 points and nine rebounds, Xavier Henry scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out three assists and swiped three steals, and Gasol pumped in 16 points and had 10 rebounds.
Kobe Bryant continued with his up and down performances in his return from a serious Achilles injury, he scored just eight points (on four-of-14 shooting), distributed six assists, grabbed three rebounds and continued with his turnover issues, coughing it up five times.
“That’s going to happen,” D’Antoni told the AP. “We have to do a better job of taking the burden off him.”
Paul Millsap scored a team-high 19 points for Atlanta. He also had nine rebounds and four steals.
Los Angeles dropped to 5-7 on the road and 11-13 overall (1-4 since Kobe has returned to the starting lineup) while the Hawks improved to 9-4 at home and 13-12 overall.
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