In the NBA, a rebuilding team usually does not beat a playoffs team, but the Los Angeles Lakers did not get that memo when they played on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. The Lakers defeated the Hawks by a score of 123-116, as reported by ESPN.
Los Angeles Lakers Starters
D’Angelo Russell decided to take over the offense for the Lakers. He produced 23 points and eight rebounds. The sophomore guard also had three blocks. Russell set out to perform better than Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, and he pulled that off. Consistency will still be an issue for a young player, but the performance has to give Los Angeles some hope.
Nick Young is one of the streakiest players in the NBA, which is why many are surprised that he is starting for the Los Angeles Lakers. Against the Hawks, he came through with 17 points. Young nailed three of the seven shots that he took from the outside, so that helped to spread the floor a bit for the rest of his teammates.
Luol Deng had 13 points and ten rebounds. The veteran forward had production across the board, but he would have had an even better night if his shot was a bit more accurate.
The Los Angeles Lakers were forced to start Ivica Zubac at the center position. The 19-year-old is a second round draft pick who was not supposed to have been given too many minutes during his rookie season. Zubac produced six points, three rebounds, and a steal, but he looked very much like someone that did not have a lot of experience in the NBA.
Los Angeles Lakers Bench
Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. are the guys that Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton is going to rely on. He has done his homework and saw what previous head coach Byron Scott was able to get out of this trio. Against the Atlanta Hawks, the trio combined for 48 points. That goes a long way towards helping a team pick up an upset victory.
Highly touted rookie Brandon Ingram was given 22 minutes off the bench, but he did very little to make the Los Angeles Lakers believe that he is ready to become a starter. Many were under the impression that the former Duke Blue Devils star was being set up to eventually replace Nick Young as a starting guard. However, Ingram has yet to take control of the situation.
Interestingly, Jose Calderon and Thomas Robinson did not receive any minutes off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers. Both players were expected to be contributors this season.
Atlanta Hawks Starters
After having an embarrassing and sub-par game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Dwight Howard came out with a vengeance against the Los Angeles Lakers, his former team. The 6-foot-11 center came out with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals. Howard played like something that needed to prove something to the rest of the NBA.
Kyle Korver is being paid handsomely by the Atlanta Hawks to spread the floor, but he missed all but one of his six shots from the outside. Korver did not even bother to take a shot within the three point line.
Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, and Paul Millsap struggled with their shots, so the numbers that they produced felt a bit empty.
Atlanta Hawks Bench
Tim Hardaway Jr. had a tremendous game against the Washington Wizards when he put up 21 points off the bench. The other games have been lackadaisical. Against the Los Angeles Lakers, the second generation NBA star decided to put up 26 points, which helped the team but not enough.
Highly touted rookie forward Taurean Prince was being given a couple of minutes a game by Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer since the start of the regular season, but against the Los Angeles Lakers, he was stuck to the bench.
[Featured Image by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images]