The Lakers snapped their 3 game losing streak with a 123-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks. With a win over the previously undefeated Hawks, the Lakers improved to 2-3.
With Timofey Mozgov out with an eye contusion, Ivica Zubac got his first NBA start. Zubac scored the first 2 Laker baskets but struggled to contain Dwight Howard. Dominant big men seem to be a problem for this Lakers squad, as Howard had 31 points and 11 rebounds. Both Mozgov and Zubac are slow and get into foul trouble easily, while Tarik Black is undersized 6’9”.
Nonetheless, the Lakers led by D’Angelo Russell and Lou Williams were able to help the Lakers seal the win. Williams caught fire in the fourth quarter, where he scored 16 points. His instant offense is proving to be useful for late game situations.
Russell was particularly impressive. He has shown us before that he can score, but today he showcased his ability to get his teammates open shots and play good defense. Russell finished with 8 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. He seem more committed to playing defense and looked more composed on the offensive end. He let the game come to him and did not force any bad shots.
Coach Walton went with a 10 man rotation today, opting to not play Calderon and Huertas. There are just not enough minutes to go around with Ingram playing the point as well as Lou, Russell, and Clarkson. Walton made the right choice in not putting either in, as both are defensive liabilities.