The Los Angeles Lakers found life again with the Golden State Warriors out of town, drubbing the Atlanta Hawks in a 109-94 victory. Nick Young’s return was huge for the offense, Tarik Black made a massive impact on defense, and the collective group effort was too high a wave for the Hawks to overcome.
Larry Nance, Jr. had a very good game off the bench, notching a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. His activity on defense and fighting for rebounds made a big difference in turning around what was an ugly first quarter. The Lakers gave up 32 points in the first but just 16 in the second, taking a lead into halftime they’d protect the rest of the way.
Black was the difference maker inside, turning a game that was all about Dwight Howard’s presence in the paint into a balanced battle. Tarik bodied up Dwight, denied multiple entry passes and lobs to him, and held his own in the shorthanded frontcourt. Black clocked in 27 minutes, good for seven points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Even Thomas Robinson, who found himself in the starting lineup, contributed. He scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds, showing the kind of effort that solidified his spot in the final roster. The Lakers dominated the boards (53-38 advantage), and LA did its damage with a 15-7 edge in offensive rebounds. It was the purple and gold enjoying a plethora of second chance points Sunday night, tacking on 20 of them on Atlanta.
The return of
Swaggy Uncle P was a joyous one. Young was the spark plug in a Lakers offense that struggled early on, but his three-point marksmanship helped dig them out of their early deficit. Nick wound up making four of his five three-point attempts on the night, providing the perimeter scoring the Lakers needed to break away from Atlanta. Lou Williams added in a (tied) game-high 21 points, with Jordan Clarkson scoring another 18.
Kent Bazemore led the Hawks with 21 points. Dwight Howard ended his return to Los Angeles with 19 points and nine rebounds.
It was a very good win for the Lakers, who got to enjoy an easy cruise down Figueroa to the final buzzer. The fight was there like it has been all season, and this time it turned into a Lakers Landslide. Next up, four games on the road that begin Tuesday in New Orleans.