Observations from Monday’s home loss:
1. The Hawks were down 18 points at halftime. They tried to make a game of it in the third quarter but Lakers wing Brandon Ingram scored six straight points during an 8-0 run that put the Lakers up 20 points, then later dunked on Mike Muscala for an and-1 that made the margin 23 points. That was it for the Hawks. Coach Mike Budenholzer: “A lot of credit to the Lakers. Collectively it looks and feels like they are playing well from top to bottom. . . . Considering we got it taken to us tonight, I thought the effort was pretty good and the spirit was good. We just didn’t get make enough shots or get enough stops in the first half.”
2. The Hawks offset a bad shooting night by getting to the free-throw line. Defense was their problem. Just like in the first meeting in L.A., won 132-113 by the Lakers, the Hawks couldn’t keep up with the quickness and athleticism of their youthful foes. The Lakers, the league leaders in pace, got the track meet they wanted (though they squandered several transition chances with turnovers). Dennis Schroder: “That’s what they do. In L.A. we gave up (42) fast-break points. I think tonight we did a better job but it’s always tough to run back against them because they play very fast.”
3. Ingram’s length, ball-handling ability and court vision were too much for the Hawks. He went for 21 points on 16 shots with six assists in 29 minutes. Ingram also collected 10 rebounds. Ex-UGA star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 14 rebounds as the Lakers’ starting wings beat Hawks counterparts Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore 24-7 on the boards.
4. The Hawks also had their hands full with rugged Lakers big Julius Randle (19 points on 13 shots, 10 rebounds). He’s bigger and stronger than Muscala and John Collins, who guarded him initially. Randle is too quick on moves to the basket and on the boards for Miles Plumlee.
5. Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon (seven points, seven rebounds, three assists) was in the starting lineup after he didn’t play during the second half of the loss at Indiana. Budenholzer: “Coach’s decision. I wasn’t very happy with the first half (at Indiana) and it certainly wasn’t just one player, Dewayne. Just changed it up.”
6. When the ball swung around to Prince on the wing, he caught it and immediately went on the attack. He was rewarded with seven free-throw attempts (six makes). Prince was 4-for-11 on 3-pointers.
7. Collins (six points on eight shots, nine rebounds in 24 minutes) picked up his third personal foul at 10:05 of the second quarter. Budenholzer left him in the game. He probably realized the Hawks didn’t have a chance on the boards without Collins. They still got beat 59-41 on rebounds. Collins: “You never like to get beat on the boards, especially a big guy. You take that personal. That definitely will be an incentive for me, Dewayne, Miles, (Muscala) to go out there and grab as many boards as you can.”
8. Tough offensive night for Tyler Dorsey (1-for-11 from the field, 0-for-4 on 3-pointers). Dorsey did a nice job of finding creases in the defense to create short-range scoring chances but couldn’t convert.
9. Isaiah Taylor aggressively got to the basket, same as he did at Indiana. But this time Taylor’s finishes were wild and inaccurate during the competive portion of the game. He did earn nine free-throw attempts (six makes).
10. With DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal) out, Budenholzer said he considered using a nine-man rotation with three wing players: Bazemore, Prince and Dorsey. But he ended up playing Andrew White 12 minutes before garbage time.