Malik Monk, with 7 triples, and LeBron James, with 17 points in the fourth quarter, struck down on the Atlanta Hawks (134-118) and allowed Los angeles lakers add his fourth consecutive victory to continue climbing positions in the West. Monk (29 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists) and James (32 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists) were just the tip of a very coral night for the Lakers in which Avery Bradley (21 points and 6 rebounds) also stood out, Talen Horton-Tucker (21 points and 5 assists), Carmelo Anthony (17 points and 7 rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists).
Delivered in the last games to the faith of the ‘small ball’ without Anthony Davis, the Lakers with LeBron as pivot ran wonderfully on the counterattack (28 points after the 15 losses the Hawks), they only lost 8 balls and shot quite well (49, 5% in field shots and 41.5% in triples). The Atlanta Hawks, weighed down by their losses and their weak success in the triples (36.1%) and the free ones (70.4%), had Trae Young (25 points, 9 rebounds and 14 assists) and John Collins (21 points and 8 rebounds)
Mank starts the party …
Avery Bradley learned before the game that the Lakers will guarantee his contract until the end of the season and celebrated it with two triples as soon as the game started. The Hawks began with doubts and little attitude while the Lakers came out to bite with several counterattacks by Malik Monk to distance themselves very soon (18-6 with 7.15 left). However, the king of the first quarter was Bradley, overwhelming with 13 points (5 of 6 shooting) against an overly contemplative Hakws defense. (34-28).
But in defense they were still a ruin and the Angelenos, very dynamic and ready to stampede to counterattack at any time, opened a remarkable lead with 5 points followed by an excellent Monk (47-34 with 7.59 at the break). Malik Monk and Avery Bradley kept hitting 3s, Russell Westbrook was finally finding his way to the basket, and backups like Austin Reaves and Dwight Howard were joining the party without falling out of tune. Those in purple and gold came to win by 19, but a very unruly Trae Young and an accurate Kevin Huerter from the triple (4 of 5) put the Hawks back in the game (64-61).
Despite their forceful and meritorious reaction, the Hawks could not tarnish the exceptional first half of a Monk touched by the gods (21 points with 8 of 9 in shooting and 5 of 6 in triples). The Lakers’ bet on the bottom five was clearly reflected in the statistics: they shot quite effectively (50% from the field goal) but lost the rebound (22 vs. 28).
… and LeBron finishes it off
The passage through the locker room did not affect Monk at all, who made two more triples for a 9-0 run in less than two minutes (73-61 with 10.12 to be played). But the Hawks did not break down: Collins and Capela pulled the steamroller through the unprotected home zone and drew a 0-8 run (73-69 with 7.57 to go). The Lakers were very clear that defending and running was the way to victory so James and Westbrook added fuel to the cauldron (83-76 with 4.42 left). However, it was Talen Horton-Tucker, with 10 points in two minutes and a devastating dunk over Onyeka Okongwu, and Carmelo Anthony, with two consecutive triples, who certified Los Angeles superiority in the third quarter (87-101).
The Lakers figure also wanted to be the protagonist and added 13 points in four fantastic minutes (116-101 with 8.01 to go). Those from Atlanta got within 10 points with 5 minutes to go, but two triples by Anthony and Bradley and a rabid mate from Lebron again on the counterattack closed a great victory for the Lakers.