Dwight Howard might end up being one of the best signings of the offseason. The oft-ridiculed center continues to look happier than ever in Atlanta, scoring 31 points and 11 rebounds in the 7 point loss. If not for a 16 point fourth quarter from Lakers guard Lou Williams, Howard’s performance against his former team would’ve been the story from this game. Howard is now averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds in the early stages of the season, but his defense has looked the best it’s looked since his Orlando years.
Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to be fascinating. After a season that saw him barely used as a role player and his future in the league in doubt, he continued to falter in the preseason shooting under 20% from the field for the preseason. As the regular season has started, The Michigan native has looked better then ever. In the close loss Hardaway scored 26 points in 21 minutes and led all Hawks with 5-7 shooting from deep. The rest of the team shot just 22.5 % from three point range.
The Lakers 2nd unit backcourt continues to impress as guards Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson combined for 34 points and 7 assists and looked even stronger than the starting unit. Deangelo Russell continued to look like he’s really developing into a great player scoring 23 points and having 8 assists in the win, along with making Hawks guard Dennis Schroeder look silly on multiple occasions.