For whatever reason the Atlanta Hawks look much more comfortable on the road than they do at home these days. Atlanta trails the Los Angeles Lakers 42-41 at halftime at Staples Center after answering back from an early Lakers advantage.
Atlanta struggled early on to contain Los Angeles' twin towers in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Zaza Pachulia got the start for the Hawks at center but was pretty ineffective leading Larry Drew to turn to the newly acquired Erick Dampier midway through the first quarter. Dampier ended up playing 12 minutes in the first half and both he and Josh Smith were able to slow down the Lakers parade into the paint.
An 11-0 run late gave the Hawks a brief lead before Metta World Peace drained a three just before the halftime buzzer to put the Lakers back on top. Josh Smith was everywhere in the first half with 13 points, five rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Vladimir Radmanovic came off the bench to hit two three-pointers for six points at the break. Marvin Williams was solid on the boards grabbing a team-high six in the first half.
Andrew Bynum did most of his damage early scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Pau Gasol has nine points and six boards but is just 4-14 from the field. Joe Johnson did a good job on Kobe Bryant in the first half holding him to just two points on 1-10 shooting. Despite the Lakers height advantage up front, L.A. only has a 25-24 advantage in rebounding in the first half.