ATLANTA– The Hawks came into Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers with disappointment. On Saturday in New York, they turned the ball over 27 times, and the fact that they only lost by five was a miracle.
The Lakers don’t have any rim protection, so it seemed as if Jeff Teague would be able to create penetration, and they seemed to stray away from that early. They were stagnant on offense, but they were also missing shots. The Lakers packed the paint, and that led to open looks for DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver, but they weren’t able to hit. Elton Brand came off the bench and had eight points, seven rebounds, and three blocks, and his effort kept them within striking distance. They would trail 54-47 at the half.
In the third quarter, it was a different story. The Hawks came out with intensity and energy, and they would pick apart the Lakers’ defense. Kyle Korver scored 11 in the third, and he extended his streak to 94 games. The Hawks would outscore the Lakers 35-19 in the quarter, and there would be no looking back. “In the third quarter, I thought our aggressiveness and our intensity on the defensive end set the tone for a good second half,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game, “Great intensity, great aggressiveness…and I think we played off our defense. We moved the ball well. We found the open guy. That’s how we want to play.”
The Hawks would go on to win 114-100, and it never got close after the third quarter. They once held a 15 point lead over Los Angeles. The Hawks had 34 assists on the night, and the ball moved really well. They now lead the league in 30 assists games with four, and this is the offense we envisioned before the season began. Al Horford had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Millsap had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Jeff Teague added 17 points and 10 assists on the night. The Hawks had six players in double figures, and every player that stepped on the floor scored at least five points.
This was an impressive win for the Hawks, and they are now 13-12 on the season. They are back in action against the Kings at home on Wednesday.