Atlanta Hawks: Lakers 86, Hawks 78
Los Angeles–The Hawks held the Lakers to 86 points on 84 shots, had 11 turnovers to L.A’s 13, shot 14 free throws (.16 rate) to the Lakers’ nine (.11 rate) and collected 17 of the Lakers’ 47 misses. They lost because they shot 34.4 percent while missing 12 of 20 shots at the rim and botching at least six transition chances; couldn’t stop Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the paint early, and saw the Lakers scored 15 points off those 11 turnovers.
- “I don’t know how many layups we missed,” Larry Drew said. “We missed a ton of point-blank shots. We turned the ball over at crucial times, too. Defensively I thought we were pretty much right there on the money but we just couldn’t buy a shot.”
- The Hawks scored just 10 points in the second quarter but it wasn’t just because they were settling for Js. Yes, they missed all seven 3-point attempts in the period but they also missed seven consecutive layup attempts. “We got to the rim,” Jeff Teague said. “That’s what we wanted to do. But we couldn’t finish.”
- No doubt the Lakers’ length had something to do with Atlanta missing so many at close range. The Hawks had seven shots blocked, including two of the layup attempts, and you could see them peeking for defenders when they drove to the basket. “We just have to have more focus when we are going to the rim,” Drew said. “You can’t be concerned about them blocking the shots or changing them.”
- I said the Hawks should shoot more 3s and of course they go out and miss 20 of 27 attempts, including 13 of 16 tries after the first quarter. Still, that’s an effective field-goal percentage of 38.3 compared to 38 percent on 2s (40 percent at the rim) and 64 percent on free throws. The Hawks couldn’t make anything.
- “It wasn’t a great shooting night,” Joe Johnson said. “But you can make up for that with effort and defense. I think our defense was pretty good tonight but we missed a lot of easy shots.”
- The Hawks trailed just 59-51 entering the fourth. The Lakers got some separation behind Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Andrew Goudelock. Drew waited until the official timeout at 8:04 to put Johnson and Josh Smith back in with Atlanta down 69-57.
- “I was thinking about the back-to-back,” Drew said. “I wanted to go back with the starters and still make a push but I can’t drive them into the ground when we have a back-to-back. I thought the bench guys gave us some good minutes.”
- Vladimir Radmanovic’s 3 got the Hawks within 69-60 but Smith threw the ball away. After the Lakers scored on a second chance, Joe made a J but Blake shook free from Teague for a 3, Joe carried the ball for a turnover, and Gasol made a J. That was the last gasp for the Hawks.
- After Zaza Pachulia couldn’t keep Bynum from deep post position, Drew went to Erick Dampier. Except Drew said that’s not why he did it. “I was told [Zaza] had two fouls,” Drew said. “But they gave the foul to Joe. They said they changed it.”
- As it turned out, Dampier was pretty effective at making forcing Bynum to catch the ball away from the basket. Considering his lack of conditioning and mobility, he did well to play 16 minutes and get four rebounds. But his teammates should know that they can’t whip passes to those hands. “He did pretty good,” Josh said. “He played pretty good defense on Bynum. He missed a couple of chip tip ins. We was in a drought.”
- Zaza said he knew he only had one foul but it ended up working out for him, too. “I watched what [Dampier] did to [Bynun] and so in the second half I went out and did the same,” he said. Bynum overpowered Zaza a couple times but Zaza effectively pushed, cajoled and harassed him after halftime.
- In 15 second-half minutes, Josh was 1 for 7 with four rebounds and three assists. In the first half, he was 6 for 11 with five rebounds in 17 minutes. The problems were familiar: missed jumpers (3 of 9 outside of the paint) and untimely turnovers. There came a point where it looked as if he was no longer interested in venturing inside against the Lakers’ timber.
- Josh did a pretty good job bothering Gasol’s attempts around the basket. It’s no coincidence that the Lakers’ perimeter players started attacking the paint after he went to the bench in the third quarter.
- Joe never did assert himself as a scorer when the Hawks needed it. This wasn’t Milwaukee or Detroit. He did have five of the team’s 14 assists against two turnovers. “I got to where I wanted to get on the floor,” Joe said. “I missed a lot of easy shots for myself. I feel I could have made a lot more plays getting guys wide open shots.”
- Joe became the seventh player in Hawks franchise history to score at least 10,000 points. “It is what it is,” he said. “Maybe if we could have got a win it would feel a lot better. My main focus right now is for us to try to get the rest of these games on the road.”
- Zaza and Josh (nine rebounds each) got some help on the boards: Marvin Williams, Tracy McGrady and Vlad Rad had six each.
- Vlad Rad, back in his old building, made three 3-pointers for the first time since Jan. 9, which also is the last time he had as many as six attempts. T-Mac was driving to score, missing and looking for calls. Marvin missed a few good looks.
- With Dampier getting minutes at center and Vlad Rad at the four, Ivan Johnson got a DNP-CD.
- Teague’s 6-for-16 shooting included five misses at the rim and also a couple botched runners. He never got out of scoring mode and finished with two assists. The Hawks’ starting point guard wasn’t leading them on a night the offense was often aimless.
- Kobe Bryant scored 10 points on 18 shots with Joe plus help keeping him in check save for a burst in the third quarter.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat