The Lakers return to work and face the Atlanta Hawks. It was nice to see the excitement and nostalgia of the NBA All-Star game, watching Phil Jackson coaching Kobe and Shaq, the most dominant duo ever created.
The Lakers had a successful first half of this season. If someone told the Lakers that you would suffer some significant injuries, but after 52 games you would only lose 10; everyone would happily accept that.
As stated in Broderick Turner’s L.A. Times article, someone from the staff placed a message on a grease board in the locker room after the loss in Utah.
“30 More…42-10…1 p.m. Monday”
This subtle message spoke volumes to the team, focus on the second half of the season, accept your record and don’t lose sight of the season long goal of winning a championship, the next practice.
The Atlanta Hawks have their best record at the All-Star break in a decade. The Hawks have won four-of-five games in February. The Hawks face they’re toughest challenge of the season, a five-game Western Conference road swing starting with the Lakers.
The Hawks took Boston to seven games in the playoffs and almost ended their season. I look forward to the Lakers accomplishing that task. Atlanta will pick and roll the Lakers often and look to get Bibby open shots or good shots for his teammates. The Lakers started the season as the number one ranked team defensively and have since fallen down to number twenty.
The Lakers can play defense but need to be more consistent & communicate more. The team is giving up way too many three point shots and needs to stop the dribble penetration. Hawks point guard Mike Bibby has played well against the Lakers and will try to exploit the deficiencies. The combination of Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar should limit his contribution.
Joe Johnson is averaging 22 points, but he will have his hands full trying to slow Kobe Bryant. Kobe has averaged 27.7 points and 5 assists this season his points and assists will increase with him playing the role of the facilitator.
The Lakers All-Stars will lead the team and will be the focal point of the offense but I feel that Lamar Odom will continue to play well. He’ll matchup with Josh Smith and has to limit his scoring, rebounding and shot blocking.
The Lakers bench plays well at home and will have a solid contribution. Hopefully Adam Morrison can be a weapon off the bench and consistently knock down the open shot to spread the floor.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports West 1 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Atlanta: SportSouth HD (Bob Rathbun & Dominique Wilkins)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Atlanta: WQXI Sports Radio 790 ( Steve Holman )
- Andrew Bynum (Knee)
- Thomas Gardner (Flu)