The (54-20) Los Angeles Lakers are in Atlanta to face the (47-26) Hawks.

Both teams have more than enough incentive to play well; the Lakers want to finish their last extended road trip of the regular season on a winning note. The Hawks are currently tied for the third seed in the Eastern Conference; seeking to expand the number of elite teams in the conference to four.

This has been a strange road swing for the Lakers, but the team has yet to play with any consistency or with a sense of urgency. It makes no sense to wait until the Playoffs and attempt to flip the switch.

Tonight’s game is huge in the sense that due to a series of issues, our team is showing a lot of weaknesses and they are in trouble! This team hasn’t been a solid team on the road, Andrew Bynum is injured, screen and roll defense has faltered, quick guards have abused the squad, and on more than one occasion the bench hasn’t even showed up. All this means, is that our team like every other team in the league has holes.

The NBA is a game of chess and not a game of checkers so to speak its about match ups. The Lakers aren’t playing with any consistency or at a high level. Despite this fact, the the Lakers have won eight of their last 10 games.

The fact of the matter is that you would be lying to yourself if you didn’t notice the dark clouds surrounding our team. However, if the season ended tonight the Purple and Gold would face the Spurs in the first round and the Suns in the second round, two very winnable series against teams that don’t match up well with the Lakers.

Atlanta has won seven of the last 10 games; they’re 30-7 at home and will be favored tonight. The Lakers need to play to their strength, use their length and look to destroy the Hawks on the interior. The Lakers need to establish Pau Gasol in the painted area, be patient in their offense using excellent ball movement and excellent player movement and take high percentage shots.

The Lakers need to avoid settling for jump shots, especially three point shots and look for a high percentage shot close to the basket. The Lakers front line needs to be aggressive on both ends of the court and everyone wearing a purple jersey needs to attack the rim.

The best case scenario for Lakers would see them playing solid defense, stopping the dribble penetration, defending the screen and roll, challenging every shot, limiting the Hawks to one shot per possession, extending their defense out to the three point line, and boxing out and out rebounding the Hawks.

Tip-off: 4:00 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Atlanta: FS South (Bob Rathbun & Dominique Wilkins)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Atlanta: 790 AM (Steve Holman)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Andrew Bynum (Left Achilles Strain) Out
  • Kobe Bryant ( Avulsion fracture of his right index finger, Sprained Left Ankle)
  • Shannon Brown (Sprained Right Thumb) listed Day-to-Day
  • Ron Artest (Sprained Left Thumb) listed Day-to-Day
  • Lamar Odom (Sprained Shoulder) listed Day-to-Day
  • Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back) Out, but did practice with the team

Hawks:

  • None to report.
  • Tyson

    Odom and Gasol are sickening to watch. They are straight up getting embarrassed by the hawks bigs, and all there doing is complaining.

  • BigShotBob

    Do you see the sharks circling? They can smell the blood!

  • hoop247

    i remember when scoop jackson wrote to M. Joardan. I would like to call this letter Hoop to Kobe. first off i like to start with why the f@#* doesn't any one on the team besides kobe and lamar, yeah F#%# Pau soft ass bitch i hope he would play like a champ again like last year, play with a sense of urgency. They are just on the floor walking, wth? famar should not deserve to have his first name as jordan because that foo can't play with the team and defend everyother guards in the league, he has no defense. Derek, don't get me started, just hit the open three please ( he needs to practice alone alot more). Shannon brown, he used to be my second fav. player off the bench. Now he doesn't play his game anymore, missing layups come on shannon u r not farmar. Sasha is a piece of broken machine. Why can't he play D like he used to and hit threes like he used to. Maybe staying in LA too long and going out with Maria Sharapova makes him want to quit basketball. but maybe again he should by the way hes playing now. The rest of the team needs to learn how to make free throw and that includes u to kobe (GOAT). I would like to see some more dunk posters from mamba. Also maybe everyone on the team can actually run down the court and play lakers basketball, thanks. And on the defensive side, can people please stay on your man and actually contest shots. We as a team are being outrun by other teams. Thats embarrassing. Andrew Bynum, please stop getting injured and play with more fire power. Pau Gasol, i really liked him since he was traded to the lakers. But this year, he doesn't dunk anymore. Stop making people call you Soft, Pau. Come on u r better than that. Just rise up as high as you can, put your body out and dunk the ball as hard as you can. Dunk the ball as if the rim had talked about your mama and had an affair with your girl. Kobe (GOAT) please, can you please make sure that finger doesn't bother you anymore and dunk and score on people like you used to. I know its hard to ask because you are injured, but don't be afraid to draw charges or fouls on those punks that think they can guard you. As a life long lakers fan, i would like to say play more smoother, tougher, and just make sure the whole team is having fun because the game should be fun and no matter what winning is the most important thing. WE ARE THE LAKERS AND WINNING IS A MUST NOT AN OPTION.

  • j.dizzle

    LOL I feel bad for fans that are spending good money to watch this team play lately while it looks like they would rather be out drinking or at home kickin back rather then playing hard. Oh well, if they dont really care right now then the fans shouldnt either..If I was kobe I would sit out a few games & rest up cuz theres no point for him to try if his teammates dont feel the need too..Kobe been punching chairs lately, cussing a lot, looking angry..Not a good look haha, a healthy Bynum will be much needed this year.

  • KindSir

    Wow, I bet you no playoff team in the league is even remotely worried about the Lakers anymore. Everyone here better hope the lakers have a damn switch that they can flip on in the playoffs, cause as of right now there's no way in hell that they win the championship this year. Oh man I've never been so frustrated as a fan as I am this season. Even in the few crappy we've had I've never been so angry. Our team is stacked, yet we play like a bunch of scrubs.

    • KindSir

      Oh and I like this quote from an article about tonights game “Zaza Pachulia chipped in with his first double double in more than a year…” Yes, no double doubles for a whole year, but the lakers come into town, and what do you know, a double double. I wonder if random PGs and nobody players circle the lakers on their calendars and start salivating. I also love how even when we do have two seven footers out there, they both still get punked by much smaller players. *sigh*

      • KindSir

        haha, and oh yea the other double double Zaza had a year ago? Naturally it was also against the lakers.

  • lakers2000

    Here I sit, heart all broken.
    kicked my T.V., left that thing smokin'.
    Lakers lost and now I'm pissed.
    All from assignments that were missed.
    The early season had highs, now there's too many lows.
    How will we do in the playoffs, God only knows.
    Can we get to the finals, beat Shaq and Lebron,
    win the rest of our games, show the league that “it's on”.
    All I can say as a huge Laker fan is give us your all.
    Do the best that you can.
    Go Lakers!!!!!