The Atlanta Hawks once again let a big lead slip away in the second half but this time around they had an answer and were able to come away with a 100-87 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Kobe Bryant's final trip to Philips Arena. Atlanta has been marred by inconsistent play throughout the first part of the season and Friday's game was yet another example. The Hawks saw a similar situation on Wednesday but were unable to recover in a tough home loss to the Toronto Raptors. Those lapses of focus are sure to be a point of emphasis by the coaching staff during the team's first extended break of the regular season.
"I think our defense in the first half gave us the cushion," Mike Budenholzer said after the game. "We had a little lag in the third quarter into the fourth quarter, but found a way to make some plays down the stretch." Atlanta led by as many as 19 points in the first half but saw that trimmed to just four points with six minutes left to go in the game.
"It's been two nights in a row where in the second half we haven't been as good as we need to be," Budenholzer said. "It's really both sides of the court. We're not doing enough defensively. That usually can give us a rhythm and fuel us on offense. We have to focus on being a better defensive team for 48 minutes."
Atlanta ended up shooting 50 percent from the field for the game and got a solid effort from the bench. They helped limit the Lakers to just 37 percent shooting, but Los Angeles was able to knock down 13 of 27 three-point attempts which helped keep them in the game. The Lakers were also aided by 17 Atlanta turnovers with 10 of those coming in the third quarter.
"It's a good win," said Jeff Teague who finished with 13 points and five assists. "We just needed a win, really. I'm happy we were able to get the win tonight."
Bench plays big part in win
Atlanta's bench accounted for 41 points Friday night with 29 of those coming from Mike Scott and Kent Bazemore. Scott has had an up and down start to the season but scored eight of his 14 points in the second quarter to help Atlanta push out to that big lead early.
"I think Mike Scott got his first shot to go down," Budenholzer said about Scott. "He's one of those guys, when he starts to feel it and he starts to get into a rhythm, he can be really good and he can put up points quickly."
Bazemore came off the bench for the fourth straight game and finished with 15 points, three rebounds, two assists and four steals. With Thabo Sefolosha healthy, it appears that Bazemore is settling into a bench role nicely. Seven of Bazemore's 15 points came in the fourth quarter Friday night.
"It means a lot," Bazemore said when asked about being able to pull out the win at the end. "Relinquishing the lead going into the fourth on Wednesday and being in the same position tonight, but kind of finishing it out. We just have to put it together and we have to keep building. We've been taking a step forward and two steps back. We're in it. We're not in the worst spot we could be in. But it's about that time to try to get on a roll."
Tiago Splitter available but misses seventh straight game
Tiago Splitter was in uniform and available to play for the Hawks against the Lakers, but received a DNP-CD missing his seventh straight game with a sore hip. Atlanta now has a stretch of four straight off days which will give Splitter more time to recover and to hopefully be ready when they return to action on December 9 against the Dallas Mavericks.