The Hawks stifled the Lakers, who were on the second night of back-to-back games, with a 138-122 win at State Farm Arena on Tuesday.

Here are five observations:

1. The Hawks pounced on the Lakers early, despite Austin Reaves scoring the first field goal of the night and LeBron James drawing a three-point play to put the Lakers up 5-0. While the Lakers eventually built up to a 12-6 lead, the Hawks found their groove, eventually.

They took the lead with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter off a pair of free throws from Saddiq Bey and never looked back. The Hawks eventually built their lead to 87-67.

The Hawks had six different players end the night in double-figures. The team had 32 assists for 53 made field goals.

2. Part of what allowed the Hawks to have a balanced night of scoring was the strong play of their backcourt tandem. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray fed their teammates within the flow of the game, which allowed them to make timely reads.

On top of that they fed off of each other throughout the game, with Murray finding Young off a screen from Jalen Johnson at the top of the key. Young then drove into the lane quickly and hit a floater with 5:23 to play in the second quarter.

Then in the fourth, Young made a quick pass to Murray on the wing, before he drove and pulled up for a jumper.

The two combined for 50 points and 22 assists to help deliver the Hawks’ largest win over the Lakers since the 2015-16 season.

“I thought DJ and Trae, both of them really managed the game,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “Both individually and when they were in the game together.”

3. But the Hawks credited their offensive surge on Tuesday to putting up a strong defensive front. Early in the matchup the Hawks kept the Lakers in front of them, sometimes leading them into traps where they could pick their pockets, leading to 10 steals.

They tasked Bey, Johnson and De’Andre Hunter with trying to slow down James. The three Hawks wings helped to hold James to 7-of-17 shooting from the floor, though he still scored 20 points, had nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Hawks defense though, force 14 Lakers turnovers, with James responsible for three of them. With 11:47 to play in the third, Johnson picked up James. As the 20-time All-Star spun to avoid the defense, Johnson stayed on his back and picked his pocket.

“Those three guys in combination, just gave us really solid minutes and did some good things on the other end too,” Snyder said.

Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder talks with Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter (12) during the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers at State Farm Arena, Tuesday, January 30, 2024, in Atlanta. The Hawks won 138-122. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz

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Credit: Jason Getz

4. The Hawks finally saw the return of Hunter to the rotation after the forward missed the last 18 games.

Hunter played on a minutes restriction as the Hawks look to cautiously integrate him back into the lineup. He played just over 16 minutes and though he had just six points to show for it, he showed why his defensive presence was missed.

They missed his size and ability to allow them to switch more comfortably since he can be matched up with an opposing team’s best wings. But they also missed his skillset and aggressive play offensively, though Hunter would joke otherwise.

“I feel like I played well tonight in the time I was given,” Hunter said. “I just shot threes. I didn’t really do much but it was good to be out there (and) see a couple of shots go in, just get my rhythm back.”

5. With the Lakers coming off a loss to the Rockets the night before and the Hawks up 18, they pulled their main rotational players with 3:21 to play. They Hawks did too, opening up some minutes for young developing players.

Hawks rookie Kobe Bufkin, who has logged significant minutes in the G League, subbed into the game, helping to run the show for the final two minutes of action. He knocked down his first official NBA jumper with 27.6 seconds to play.

Stat to know

26.5 -- Inside State Farm Arena this year, Atlanta is averaging 26.5 assists a game.


“He’s definitely a league dude.” -- Trae Young on Kobe Bufkin getting his first official NBA basket.

Up next

The Hawks host the Suns on Friday in the first night of back to back games.