The Los Angeles Lakers snapped a two-game losing streak with a nail-biting victory over the Boston Celtics and now look to end their road trip on a high note. To do so they’ll have to contain Trae Young and solve a top-10 Atlanta Hawks defense.
Young has been on fire his past five games, averaging 37.6 points during a stretch that’s seen Atlanta go 4-1. Young has been bothered by some knee trouble but is considered probable to play agains the Lakers.
The Hawks will be without De’Andre Hunter, due to an MRI revealing he suffered articular wear and tear in his right knee. Hunter has been a key perimeter defender for a Hawks defense that enters play with a 108.4 efficiency rating.
The Lakers’ offense was a bit out of sync in a loss to the Detroit Pistons, but had improved stretches against the Celtics. They were aided by Anthony Davis returning from a right quad contusion, as he had a big first quarter in Boston.
L.A. also found success with head coach Frank Vogel shortening his rotation to just nine players. It left Wesley Matthews and Markieff Morris as the odd men out, which Vogel spoke highly of both veterans accepting.
Although the lineup of LeBron James, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell was effective, Vogel said he will continue to evaluate rotations and changes on Saturday were not considered permanent.
With two off days on the horizon, the Lakers will need to keep focused if they want to end their road trip with a 5-2 record. Fighting complacency — especially when taking a big lead in a game — has been somewhat of an issue for the team this season.
As Anthony Davis and others have noted, the Lakers are well aware they get their opponent’s best shot every night.
Davis (right quad contusion) and James (left ankle sprain) are listed as questionable for the matchup.
Having previously seen Dwight Howard, Danny Green and JaVale McGee on the road trip, the Lakers now reunite with Rajon Rondo. The veteran point guard signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Hawks during the offseason.
Lakers (15-6) vs. Hawks (10-9)
4:30 p.m. PT, February 1, 2021
State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schröder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezzl Harrel, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris
Projected Hawks starting lineup:
PG: Trae Young
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: Danilo Gallinari
PF: John Collins
C: Clint Capela
Key Reserves: Solomon Hill, Onyeka Okongwu, Cam Reddish, Rajon Rondo
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