Hawks defense sub-par in loss to Lakers

Tim Hardaway Jr. confers with head coach Mike Budenholzer during the first period against the Lakers in an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

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Tim Hardaway Jr. confers with head coach Mike Budenholzer during the first period against the Lakers in an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

The NBA’s top-ranked defense took a beating.

The Hawks couldn’t contain the Lakers in the second half of a 123-116 loss Wednesday night at Philips Arena. It was the Hawks’ first defeat of the season.

After allowing 99, 77 and 95 points in their first three games, the Hawks had surrendered 90 points to the Lakers by the end of the third quarter. The Lakers had a 39-point third quarter as they shot 61 percent (14 of 23).

The Lakers (2-3) took the lead with 10:26 left in the fourth quarter, 99-98, and never trailed again. It was their first lead since they lead 16-14 in the opening period. Former Hawks and South High product Lou Williams had 16 fourth-quarter points for the Lakers in the rally.

The Lakers led by as many as seven points after taking the lead, including a Nick Young 3-pointer with 17.9 seconds left for a 121-114 advantage. Dennis Schroder had a layup attempt blocked before the shot with the Hawks trailing by four points.

The Hawks (3-1) were led by Dwight Howard with a game-high 31 points and 11 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. had a huge performance off the bench with 26 points, including five 3-pointers. It was three points off his career high. The Hawks led by a many as 12 points in the game but couldn’t hold on.

D’Angelo Russell led six Lakers in double-figures with 23 points. Williams finished with 18 points.

The Hawks entered the game with the NBA’s top-ranked defense. It won’t be now.