Dec 16, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) tries to keep the ball in bounds in the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Strong second half by Hawks dooms Lakers

Two nights after offering up their best defensive performance of the year, the Lakers showed the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Giving up 11 threes, 15 offensive rebounds, and allowing 67 points in the second half, the Lakers let a halftime lead slip away, dropping their 13th contest of the season by a final of 114-100.

Dec 16, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots a basket over Atlanta Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll (5) in the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Seven different Hawks hit three pointers, including three from sharp shooter Kyle Korver. While the Lakers took a 54-47 lead into halftime, it quickly disappeared thanks to huge 3rd quarter from Atlanta. In fact, the entire second half was all Hakws, who scored 67 points to LA’s 46.

 

Nick Young led the way for the Lakers on the night, dropping 23 points with five threes. Jordan Hill dominated the offensive glass as normal, grabbing 4 offensive rebounds (9 total) and pouring in 21 points on a perfect 8 of 8 from the field. Xavier Henry added 18 points and Pau Gasol was the only other Laker in double figures with 16 points.

 

Gasol started hot, scoring 10 points and grabbing 6 boards in the first frame. However, he’d finish with just 6 points and 4 rebounds over the final 3 quarters. Without a point guard, the Lakers once again looked lost offensively for most of the night, relying on the trio of Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry, and Nick Young to initiate the team offensively. More often than not, the team looked disorganized, relying too heavily on Bryant to create for teammates. Unfortunately for Bryant and the Lakers, the Black Mamba had an off-night, shooting just 4 of 13 with 6 assists but 5 turnovers.

 

The Lakers tried everything in the second half, even employing a front-line of Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly, who saw his first significant minutes of the season. However, nothing could slow down a hot-shooting Hawks squad, who benefited from a putrid effort on the defensive end by the Lakers.

 

The loss brings the Lakers to 1-4 since Bryant’s return and 1-2 on the road trip. The road swing finishes tomorrow night with the team’s fourth game in five nights, with all four being on the road. The team travels to Memphis tomorrow night, with tip-off at 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Pacific.

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Tags: Jordan Hill Kobe Bryant Los Angeles NBA Nick Young Pau Gasol

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