The Atlanta Hawks scored 67 points in the second half of Monday's 114-100 win over the Los Angeles Lakers and it had everything to do with their defense and their activeness on the boards. Atlanta completely flipped the script on the Lakers in the second half and wore them down to grab a much needed win at home.
At the half, the Lakers led the Hawks 54-47 behind 48 percent shooting from the field and a 28-17 advantage on the boards. Atlanta surged back in the second half by getting more active defensively and out rebounding the Lakers 27-15. The defense helped fuel the offense into some easy early looks which led to 52 percent shooting in the second half.
Kyle Korver went 0-4 from the field in the first half but bounced back to go 4-6 in the second including 3-4 from deep. DeMarre Carroll helped wear down Kobe Bryant who was just 1-8 in the second half and finished with just eight points on the night.
Atlanta's struggles on the defensive end of the court are somewhat overblown. They have moved into the top half of the league in defensive efficiency over the first 25 games but its usually a single bad quarter that can pave the way to a loss for this team. The Hawks aren't a big team and have to give a great effort on the defensive end and on the boards to keep their heads above water on most nights.
One thing is certain. When they do control the boards and when they do defend it usually leads to a lot of good early looks on the offensive end. It means Jeff Teague is more effective, and that the offense flows more naturally.
The goal for this club is still to find some consistency and to string together a few wins along the way. Atlanta has not won more than two games in a row all season. Likewise they have had just one three-game losing streak. They have done a good job of bouncing back from losses but have had difficulties sustaining the highs for long.
They have an opportunity with Sacramento and Utah coming in later this week. The new-look Kings defeated the Rockets on Sunday but are just 7-15 on the season and will be on the second night of a back-to-back after playing in Charlotte on Tuesday. I don't want to make any bold statements about any single game but this is one that you look at the schedule and see the Hawks at home and say that they should win.
The same holds true for Friday's game against a 6-21 Utah team that is just 3-11 on the road. The Hawks should win those games and if they want to be anything better than a .500 club this season they need to.
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