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10 Things to Know: Lakers at Hawks (11/2/16)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers finish their road trip against the Atlanta Hawks.
1) The Lakers’ reserves have gotten it done lately, as their leading scorer in three of four games has come off the bench. Jordan Clarkson led the way on opening night with 25 points, while Lou Williams has provided a boost on this road trip, going for 17 in Utah and 19 in Indiana.
2) The Lakers will be without starting center Timofey Mozgov, who is out with a left eye contusion after taking both an elbow and hand to the face in Indiana on Tuesday. Head coach Luke Walton has not announced who will replace him, but Tarik Black has played backup center so far, while Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. have spent spurts in the position during small-ball lineups.
3) Nance nearly stole his way to a Lakers victory against the Pacers by tying his career-high with six steals. The sophomore also provided a go-ahead, follow-up dunk with three minutes left while adding 11 points and five rebounds, but the Lakers couldn’t hang onto that lead in the final two minutes.
4) Whoever starts at center for the Lakers will be lining up against a familiar foe: Dwight Howard. A Laker for only one season in 2012-13, Howard has looked sharp in his first three games since joining his hometown team, averaging 10.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and a league-high 3.3 blocks.
5) Howard is joined in the Hawks’ frontcourt by three-time All-Star Paul Millsap. One of the league’s best two-way players, Millsap led the NBA in defensive win shares last season (6.0), and is currently providing a sample platter of offense with 19.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
6) One of the keys to the Hawks’ season will be whether Kyle Korver can return to sharpshooter form. He led the NBA in 3-point percentage in back-to-back seasons before falling down to 25th last year (39.9). Thus far, he has been deadly from deep, hitting 9-of-15 so far.
7) Another accurate Hawk this season has been Thabo Sefolosha, who has gone 12-of-17 from the field. The Switzerland native needs only 16 points for 4,000 in his career, and he has been especially dangerous on the defensive end by averaging a league-best 3.3 steals.
8) After three seasons in Los Angeles, Ryan Kelly was not retained by the Lakers over the offseason. He attended training camp with Atlanta but was ultimately waived. However, after power forward Mike Scott suffered a knee injury, the Hawks required Kelly’s services and signed him on Oct. 31.
Kelly bombing away in practice. pic.twitter.com/8RbLS0YY0N— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 26, 2015
9) Atlanta is one of only five teams with a still-perfect record. The Hawks have absolutely trounced their first three opponents — Washington, Philadelphia and Sacramento — beating each by double-digits and by an average margin of 19.3 points.
10) Defense has been vital to this success, as Atlanta is surrendering a league-low 88.7 points per game. This shouldn’t be much of a shock, as the Hawks were second in defensive efficiency last year (98.8) and allowed the second-fewest points in the preseason (92.1).
Tip-off: 4:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
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