Lakers Blow Big Lead, Beat Hawks 105-103
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Xavier Henry scored 18 points, Pau Gasol hit two tiebreaking free throws with 6 seconds remaining, and the Los Angeles Lakers, who lost all of a 21-point lead, beat the Atlanta Hawks 105-103 on Sunday night.
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. Coach Mike D’Antoni’s intention with the lineup change was to perk up the team — still missing Kobe Bryant — at the outset, and also inject some energy into the Lakers’ second unit while doing likewise for the cold-shooting Young.
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. Young had 13 points.
Gasol finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Steve Nash had 13 points and six assists.
Kyle Korver led Atlanta with 22 points, converting all six 3-point attempts, but he missed a 21-footer from the right baseline as time ran out. Hawks point guard Jeff Teague had 14 points and six assists after missing his first five shots.
Two nights after shooting only 37 percent from the field and blowing a 15-point lead against the Spurs despite the absence of injured center Tim Duncan in the paint, Los Angeles shot 42.7 percent against the Hawks. And for the first time this season, all five Lakers starters connected from 3-point range while the team went 9 for 25 from behind the arc.
Trailing by 12 points after three quarters, the Hawks narrowed the gap to 90-83 on a jumper by Dennis Schroder with 10:25 remaining. Chris Kaman then lost the ball out of bounds on the Lakers’ next possession and committed his fifth foul on an offensive charge 34 seconds later.
Korver’s sixth 3-pointer cut it to 103-101 with 1:16 to play, and Paul Millsap got the last of his 14 points on an 11-footer that tied it at 103-all with 35.3 seconds left.
Eleven Lakers got into the scoring column as they built a 62-49 halftime lead, without anyone on the team reaching double digits.
Young, who shot 6 for 22 over his first three games, made four of his first five field goal attempts — including a 17-footer that capped a 15-2 run and gave the Lakers a 44-23 lead with 9:19 left in the second quarter.
The Lakers have beaten the Hawks eight straight times at home and have won 21 of the last 24 meetings at Los Angeles dating to Feb. 2, 1990 at the Forum. Last season at Staples Center, the Lakers won 99-98 on a layup by Bryant with 9 seconds remaining after they blew a 16-point second-half lead.
NOTES: Sunday was the 38th anniversary of the day the Lakers traded Pat Riley to Phoenix for two draft picks. One of the mainstays of the Lakers’ first NBA championship team in Los Angeles (1971-72) he went on to win four more rings as Lakers coach, another as coach of Miami, and two more as the Heat’s team president. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. … The Hawks, one of 13 NBA teams that named a new head coach during the offseason, are 1-2 under longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer. … Shawne Williams, the Lakers’ other starting forward, had seven points before fouling out with 5:40 remaining.
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