I am way too tired/lazy to write a cohesive essay recapping the game, so you all get a recap in list form!
-The Hawks started off frostbite-cold (and pretty much finished frostbite-cold). They shot a combined 1-15 from three, 30-83 overall, and 19/28 from the free throw line! That’s 7%, 37%, and 68%. Part of that was the absolutely suffocating Laker defense, but a lot of it was the Hawks simply missing a ton of shots. The only reason their shooting line wasn’t any worse was a 6-9 night from Al Horford, whose face said (to me) “Please let me be traded.”
-The Lakers absolutely crushed the Hawks in the 1st quarter, leading 28-15 after 12 minutes. Derek Fisher hit his first 3 shots (a clear foreshadowing of what was to come) and the Lakers never looked back. They missed 4 shots the entire quarter, and the lead would’ve been even larger had they not turned the ball over 4 times.
-The bench for the Lakers came out in the second quarter and played terribly for the first 6 minutes. And by terribly, I mean as bad as the Hawks were playing, so the lead only dwindled from 13 to 9. Keep in mind, the Lakers won the game by 24 points, and Luke Walton was -5. Please come back soon, Matt Barnes.
-Can someone please tell me when Steve Blake plans on joining the Lakers? Seems absurd to me that they’re paying him $4 million this year and he has yet to show up…
-To be totally honest, I only half-watched the game after halftime. I was much too busy constructing witty (to me, at least) one-liners on Twitter, listening to my Spanish commentators exclaim “Joshay Smee!!!!” and seeing Josh Smith jacking up a three.
-The 2nd half of this game was really a formality. The Hawks had given up by then and Joe Johnson’s face told me “Man, at least I’m making $1293487 billion dollars a year.”
-Bynum was a complete beast on defense. He finished with 3 blocks and 15 boards, while having at least 5 altered shots which led to horrible misses by the Hawks. Sure he had only 5 points, but he played his role and brought the intensity on defense which was the real cause of the Laker lead.
-One thing about Ebanks and Caracter: say what you want about them being rookies and inexperienced; those guys go hard. Even though it was junk time in a massive blowout, they fought for rebounds and went hard to the basket. Good signs for future Laker depth.
-The Lakers had very balanced offense. The threesome of Kobe, Pau, and Shannon Brown led the way (that one’s for you, Steve W), with 20, 14, and 15 points, respectively. Artest had 11 points on 4-7 shooting, while Fisher chipped in with 10 points. Every Laker scored, even Joe Smith on a fancy, Kobe-esque turnaround. And when Joe Smith scores, you know it’s been a good game for the Lakers.
Overall, it was nice for a change to have a team play absolutely terribly against us. The Lakers, fresh from the All-Star Break, seemed to be expecting the other team’s best, like they had received in the previous few games. But the Hawks showed up and played terribly, while the Lakers showed the defensive intensity and the offensive flow of a championship team. Combine those two and you get a 24 point blowout. Let’s hope this is a good start to the rest of the regular season.