Lakers 92, Hawks 109: Running Diary

98174367_10Lakers – Hawks Gameday Page
We took a look at the Lakers – Hawks contest in Atlanta while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers looked to close their 5-game road trip with win No. 3.

Inactives
Lakers: Andrew Bynum (Achilles) Luke Walton (back)
Hawks: Randolph Morris

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Hawks: Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford

Hawks – Lakers: By The Numbers
81.1 – Atlanta’s winning percentage at home. They’ve lost just seven games while winning 30 times, behind only Cleveland, the Lakers and Denver and tied with Orlando.
41 – Points scored by Kobe Bryant in L.A.’s 118-110 Nov. 1 victory at STAPLES Center. Andrew Bynum added 21 points with Pau Gasol out of the game (hamstring), but this time Gasol’s in and Bynum out (strained Achilles).
For the rest of the numbers, CLICK HERE.

98173680_101First Quarter
9:22 Though his numbers are nearly all career lows, Hawks point guard has been starting games very well lately, and did it again by nailing three jump shots to put Atlanta up 7-4 to start the game. Strangely, but expectedly, nearly a quarter of the fans in the building were cheering for the Lakers. Atlanta struggles with this in general at home, particularly during L.A.’s lone trip.

4:49 After Artest tied the game up at 13, the biggest cheer of the night came not from something on the court, but when rapper T.I. was shown on the jumbotron. In related news, T.I. just got out of jail a lil’ bit ago. This reminds me of my favorite celeb moment from last season, when T.I. rose from his courtside seats during a time out, walked down the length of the court while waving and posing for pictures. Obviously, no one told him to get off the floor. Solid.

0:03.8 “Don’t foul a jump shooter” didn’t work for the Lakers as Shannon Brown hit sixth man Jamal Crawford’s wrist. “The Difference” (Crawford’s nickname this season, sounding like a Jersey Shore name) hit both free throws to get to five points in the period and give Atlanta a 29-25 lead after one.

Second Quarter
6:38 L.A.’s offense was intermittently effective and poor, but one thing that was consistent was Kobe Bryant’s jumper. No. 24 seemed to get to his favorite spots pretty easily, and nailed 7-of-10 shots to start, getting to 15 points with the Lakers trailing 41-36. Moments later, Kobe would hit again, and Fisher converted two foul shots to cut the lead to three.

1:12 The Lakers controlled the middle portion of the quarter, twice cutting the lead to three, but they couldn’t find a way over the hump, missing 7-of-9 shots while Bibby nailed a three and Smith a deuce at the other end to open a 10-point lead at the break. The game had quickly turned from a back-and-forth contest to one that Atlanta seemed well in control of.

98173651_101Third Quarter
8:21 Atlanta’s fifth 3-pointer in 11 attempts swished through for Johnson, who then pulled up in the lane on the subsequent possession to push the Hawks’ lead to 12, a high for the game. New Orleans hurt L.A. with the three-pointer on Monday in much the same way.

6:12 Kobe appeared to tweak his left ankle (injured earlier this year at Philly in January) for the second time this game, but stayed in the game to convert 1-of-2 free throws. While Kobe had 23, Artest 14 (on 5-of-7 shooting) and Gasol seven (on only five attempts), the rest of the team had scored only 11 points. ATL took advantage by scoring seven straight to push the lead all the way up to 16 points.

0:52.3 The Lakers just weren’t getting the ball into the post, settling instead for jumper after jumper in the final five minutes of the quarter to no success. The rock finally found its way to Gasol, who drew a foul on Zaza Pachulia and sank both free throws to cut the deficit to 14. Jordan Farmar then negated a Mo Evans dunk by hitting two free throws, but Pachulia tipped in Crawford’s miss at the buzzer to give the Hawks an 80-64 lead after three. Before the game, Phil Jackson said a win would “redeem the trip,” but instead, a 2-3 effort looked very likely.

Fourth Quarter
8:44 Looking for signs of life, the Lakers got four points on one possession when Gasol drew a flagrant foul on Marvin Williams, hitting 1-of-2 free throws with L.A. preserving the ball. Farmar then hit his third triple of the game to cut Atlanta’s lead to 85-73.

5:58 Make that four triples for Farmar. Finally, the Lakers had gotten a bench boost after just three total points in the first half (to Atlanta’s 24), but the lead went right back to 15 when Horford hit a jumper and Evans a free throw since Farmar was called for a foul as Horford’s shot went up.

2:32 L.A.’s night was, mercifully, basically over when Johnson hit a triple to get to 25 points and put Atlanta up 103-87. Particularly frustrating for the Lakers is that they didn’t fail to play with energy, the just failed to play well in losing for the third time on their five game trip.

Five of the team’s final seven games are in Los Angeles, but until the next one (on Friday vs. Utah), your postgame numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
5 Turnovers for Atlanta, who played very well overall and took pristine care of the basketball.

7 Points for Lamar Odom in 39 minutes. Odom struggled offensively, making only 3-of-9 shots and struggling to get calls, though he did manage 10 rebounds.

9 Three-pointers hit by the Hawks, the second straight game in which the 3-ball hurt the Lakers defensively.

28 Points for Kobe Bryant on 12-of-21 shooting to lead all scorers. He added four assists and three rebounds, but was visibly (very) frustrated while walking off the court for the second straight game.

48 Bench points for the Hawks, led by 18 from former Laker Mo Evans, 14 from Jamal Crawford and 10 from Zaza Pachulia.