Five takeaways from the Lakers' 91-86 loss to the Atlanta Hawks

Five takeaways from the Lakers' 91-86 loss to the Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles' Jordan Clarkson attempts to dribble between Atlanta defenders during the second half on Sunday. (Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)

The Lakers (17-48) fell to the Atlanta Hawks (52-14) on Sunday.  Here are five takeaways from their 91-86 loss at Staples Center.

1. No Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and, after 10 minutes, Kyle Korver?  No problem, as the Hawks got a huge night from guard Dennis Schroder.


Finishing with 24 points and 10 assists in 37 1/2 minutes, Schroder's biggest play was a driving layup with 13.9 seconds left in the game.

"Coach [Mike Budenholzer] drew the play and trusted me," said Schroder.  "I just tried to challenge myself and tried to go to the cup, and I was wide open and lay it up."

That the Lakers let Schroder get right to the basket, with the game on the line, is what stands out.

2. After beating the Hawks in Atlanta in November, the Lakers managed to give the top team in the Eastern Conference a scare in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

Granted Atlanta sat key players, but the Lakers overcame a double-digit deficit in a hurry late in the fourth.

The Hawks have the second-best record in the NBA, just a half-game behind the Golden State Warriors (52-13).

Lakers forward/center Ed Davis left impressed after the loss.

"They don't care who scores. They have good balance. At one point, they had five guys in double-figures -- so they just don't care who gets the glory," said Davis. "They're one of the better teams in the NBA for a reason."

3. The Lakers dominated the boards 54 to 34, including a 19-to-seven advantage on the offensive glass (which was ultimately mitigated by 22 turnovers).

Over the last five games, the Lakers have out-rebounded their opponents by 59 -- but then the team has only one win over that stretch.

"We may out-rebound them, but the turnovers were the issue," said Tarik Black.

4. Jordan Clarkson hit a career high with eight rebounds. He neared a triple-double with 10 points and six assists with two turnovers.

Carlos Boozer had four, Jeremy Lin three -- every Laker who played had at least one.

In the second game of his career, just about anything rookie Jabari Brown does is going to be a new personal best -- including minutes (22), three-pointers made (one), steals (two) and points (nine).


"He guards people.  He's a tough kid," said Coach Byron Scott.  "Offensively, he takes what you give him and he makes good decisions too. ... I think that he has a place in this league."

Brown is on a 10-day contract.

5. The Lakers continue to hold the fourth-worst record in the NBA, important for positioning in the draft lottery. If the Lakers do not finish with a top-five selection, the pick will go to the Philadelphia 76ers (via the Phoenix Suns).

The Lakers are "behind" the Philadelphia 76ers (15-51), Minnesota Timberwolves (14-51) and Knicks (13-51). The closest two teams to the Lakers in the standings are the Orlando Magic (21-47) and Sacramento Kings (22-43).  The Lakers are likely to hold onto at least the fourth position in the lottery, with 17 to play.

The team still plays the Timberwolves and 76ers twice each.   The Knicks and 76ers still play each other twice as well.  The only way the Lakers can 100% guarantee themselves a top-five pick is to finish with the first or second-worst records in the NBA.  At third their odds are still high at 96.0%, but in their current fourth position, it's a less comfortable 83.8%.

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