After holding an up-and-down Sacramento Kings offense largely in check, the Los Angeles Lakers now face another challenge in the Atlanta Hawks, who are playing at the fastest pace in the league.
Sunday’s game marks a second consecutive weekend in which the Lakers played a back-to-back, and the last instance concluded with a thumping at the hands of the Toronto Raptors. Though, the Hawks are hardly those Eastern-Conference leading Raptors.
Atlanta enters play having lost seven of their last eight and three in a row. They are allowing an NBA-worst 119.3 points per game. Meanwhile, the Lakers boast the ninth-best offensive rating (110.0).
But the story over their current 4-1 stretch has been a sixth-rated defense. Overall this season, the Lakers now are 17th in defense, which is a marked improvement from the 20s they placed through the first two weeks.
They group will be tested by rookie Trae Young, who is averaging 18.4 points and 7.8 assists per game. Taurean Prince (14.6 points per game) and Kent Bazemore (14.1) are the only other Hawks players scoring in double-figures.
The Lakers will also get a look at Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman, both of whom were taken by the Hawks in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. Huerter and Spellman were among the slew of prospects the Lakers hosted for a pre-draft workout.
While it doesn’t appear likely, there’s a chance the Lakers won’t have Lonzo Ball available. He suffered a mild ankle sprain in practice on Friday and aggravated the injury in the first quarter against the Kings.
Just as he did after participating in shootaround at Golden 1 Center, Ball expressed an ability to play Sunday night.
Los Angeles Lakers (6-6) vs. Atlanta Hawks (3-9)
6:30 P.M. PT, Nov. 11, 2018
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Brandon Ingram
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Tyson Chandler, Rajon Rondo, Josh Hart, Lance Stephenson
Projected Hawks Starting Lineup:
PG: Trae Young
SG: Kent Bazemore
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: Omari Spellman
C: Alex Len
Key Reserves: DeAndre’ Bembry, Kevin Huerter, Jeremy Lin, Miles Plumlee