After succumbing to the Atlanta Hawks 129-121 on Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers have now lost three in a row. It didn’t take long for either team to prove that they played scant defense throughout the game.
The Lakers scored 33 points in the first quarter and 38 points in the second to lead the league with a 71.4 percent field goal percentage at the half. The team was led by Malik Monk and Anthony Davis, who combined for 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first two quarters.
As predicted, the Lakers faded in the third quarter before roaring for an 11-point lead at the conclusion. The collapse occurred at that point.
Trae Young over his last 6 games:
Hawks 6-0 🔥 pic.twitter.com/s7KP7POR8S
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 29, 2022
Recap of the game
Midway through the third quarter, Lou Williams hit a corner three to push Hawks ahead, sending the Lakers back into the action. AD had 27 points and Russell Westbrook had 20 points and 12 assists, but the defense began to crumble – the Hawks shot 58.3 percent in the game – and the offense shrunk with it.
The decisive sequence was devastating: Monk, who had a season-high 33 points, refused Davis’ pleas for the ball: “I literally was going to catch the ball and wanted him to fly off for a pitch back and stop behind 3,” Davis said later.
Monk, on the other hand, was unable to hit a disputed three at the conclusion of the clock. Young reclaimed the ball and hauled up from deep over Westbrook, shuddering in celebration of his frigid sense of brutality.
On the next possession, Monk missed an open 3-pointer. Then, with 25 seconds remaining, Bradley misconstrued coach Frank Vogel’s directive not to foul — and fouled, allowing Young two more points at the line. Davis cast a scathing glance over to the bench after the foul, which he struggled to comprehend.
The defense was optional from the start. The Lakers roared out of the gate, making eight of their first ten shots, and Davis was at the forefront, cutting apart the Hawks’ interior. Atlanta, on the other hand, offered everything they had, with John Collins (20 points) getting off to a solid start.
Even the Lakers’ excellent streaks were characterized by streaky play. They hit 10 straight field goals before halftime, highlighted by Monk’s thunderous 3-pointer at the buzzer.
They also went on a three-and-a-half-minute run when the Hawks couldn’t score a point as the third quarter came to a close. Only a technical foul on Carmelo Anthony placed them on the board before time expired.
But, no matter how intense it became, the cold snaps were unavoidable. They shot 61.5 percent in the first three quarters but only 31.8 percent in the fourth. The soft-double teams that had baffled Young in the first half crumbled in the second, with the shifty point guard scoring 13 points and dishing out three assists in the last period.
The Lakers’ previous two losses have seen them fall short in the fourth quarter, putting them in the achingly familiar situation of feeling like they’re on the verge of figuring out their identity — only to fall short in the victory line.
“I thought the last two games we played really well, we just fell short,” Vogel stated.