Lakers Outdunk Hawks In NBA Clash

A little bit of tweaking to the starting line up by coach Mike D’Antoni worked wonders for the Los Angeles Lakers, resulting in a dominant first half against the Atlanta Hawks in their NBA clash.
Then came the second half, and they ended up fighting for their lives to escape with a victory.
Xavier Henry scored 18 points, Pau Gasol hit two tiebreaking free throws with 6 seconds remaining, and the Lakers beat the Hawks 105-103 on Sunday night after blowing a 21-point lead.
“There was a little bit of an energy drop in the second half and a lot of missed assignments, but we picked it up and a lot of guys made some good plays”, Henry said. “I don’t want to say it was because we wanted it more, but you could tell. When the game was on the line, guys were like: ‘We were already up 20. We were not going to let this one slip by'”.
Henry started at forward for the first time as a Laker and the 19th time in 137 NBA games, while Nick Young came off the bench. D’Antoni’s intention with the lineup change was to perk up the team at the outset, and also inject some energy into the Lakers’ second unit while doing likewise for the cold-shooting Young.
“We’re still trying to find the right combinations and rack up the wins while we do it,”, Henry said of the growing pains the club are going through without Kobe Bryant. “We have a lot of new guys, and a lot of guys still need to learn how to play with each other. We’re trying new line ups and stuff, so we’re still going to be working and trying to compete”.
Henry, who received nine stitches in his forehead during Friday’s loss to San Antonio after colliding with teammate Wesley Johnson’s knee on a drive to the basket and missed all six of his shots that night, was 5 for 11 from the field against the Hawks.
“I’ve been playing those guys for a while, so I really didn’t have to change anything”, Henry said. “Basically I just had to go out there and still be aggressive and still be consistent”.
Gasol had 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Steve Nash had 13 points and six assists and Young finished with 13 points.
Kyle Korver led Atlanta with 22 points, converting all six 3-point attempts, but his attempt at a tying 21-footer from the right baseline was blocked by Gasol as time ran out. Hawks point guard Jeff Teague had 14 points and six assists after missing his first five shots.
“We can’t put ourselves in that situation, to always climb uphill”, Hawks forward Paul Millsap said. “We have to do a better job of starting the game off”.


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