Brandon Ingram passes against the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 26, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lakers' Offense Scorches in Hammering of Hawks

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

As the clock ran out on a victory played on the other side of the country, a “Let’s go Lakers!” chant broke out in Philips Arena.

The Lakers’ faithful always turn out in droves for the annual visit to Atlanta, and they were given plenty to roar about in a 123-104 beatdown of the Hawks.

Nine Lakers scored in double figures — the most by the franchise since Jan. 7, 1987, per Elias Sports Bureau — as Brandon Ingram led the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three blocks despite not playing in the fourth quarter.

“We played the right way today,” Ingram said. “Turned a good shot into a great shot.”

Ingram was essential in surviving the night’s one rough patch. A hot second quarter had given L.A. an 18-point halftime lead, but Atlanta scored 11 unanswered points early in the third.

From there, Ingram went to work, slicing open the Hawks’ defense with a continuous helping of pick-and-rolls. The 20-year-old fought his way to the rim and finished at unorthodox angles, scoring 15 of his points in the third before leaving due to leg cramps.

“Brandon kind of put us on his shoulders for a little bit and got that lead up to where we were a little more comfortable,” coach Luke Walton said.

The Lakers pushed their lead to as many as 25, and Julius Randle was another huge reason.

The power forward exclusively shot at the rim, overwhelming Atlanta’s bigs to the tune of 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, paired with 10 rebounds (four offensive).

While Ingram and Randle gashed the Hawks down low, their fellow Lakers bombarded from beyond the arc, hitting 15 3-pointers on a 45.5 percent clip.

Four Lakers — Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma — each made three triples, while Ball sunk all four of his shots from the field.

It’s been a successful first two games back for Lonzo, who missed 15 straight contests (and rested Saturday’s tilt) due to a sore left knee.

Against the Hawks, he pitched in 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in only 24 minutes. Walton felt that Ball’s passing numbers could have been even higher if his teammates had more time to readjust to his fast-pace style.

“Guys are gonna have to get used to playing with him again,” Walton said. “A few times he grabbed rebounds or steals and his head was up ready to make a pass, and people down the court weren’t looking.”

It was far from a perfect performance, as the Lakers committed 23 turnovers — 12 more than Atlanta — and were outscored by 10 at the free throw line.

Still, L.A., which shot 52.2 percent from the field, had much more firepower than the Hawks (18-43), who are near the bottom of the league standings.

Speaking of records, after winning their first three post-All-Star Break, the Lakers (26-34) have matched their win total from last season with 23 games to spare.

In spite of the accomplishment, Walton maintained that his players’ focus should be on whichever game is next, while the newest Laker took a more big-picture view of the state of the team.

“I’ve already known how good these guys can be, even when I wasn’t on this team,” said Isaiah Thomas, who was traded to the Lakers 11 days ago. “You see it each and every time they step out onto the court — how special they can be if they all put it together.”

Notes
The other Lakers to score in double figures were Hart (14 points), Thomas (13), Lopez (11), Kuzma (10), Ivica Zubac (10) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (10 and a career-high 14 rebounds). … The Hawks were led by Taurean Prince (24 points) and Dennis Schroder (20). … Atlanta shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 8-of-36 on 3’s. … A crowd of 16,328 was in attendance.

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