(Anna Lupean/Los Angeles Lakers)
Lakers vs. Hawks: 3 Things to Know (11/17/19)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ Sunday matchup with the Atlanta Hawks.
1) King James continues to amaze
Year 17 for LeBron James is just different — ask Nemanja Bjelica. Friday’s win over Sacramento was highlighted, bolded and underscored by LeBron taking flight and violently throwing down over the Kings’ big man.
It was a titanic effort all around from James, who put up 29 points and 11 assists despite Sacramento loading up on him seemingly every possession. He picked his spots to isolate on opponents and score, while otherwise picking the defense apart with his playmaking.
James now has double-digit assists in four straight games (and nine of 12 overall), solidifying himself as the league leader in dimes — when he’s not busy making posters.
The King's Justice pic.twitter.com/OnVPOh5Y1v— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 16, 2019
2) KCP came through in the clutch
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — who started in place of an injured Avery Bradley — entered the fourth quarter with only one basket, but that didn’t stop him from being arguably the most important player on the floor in crunch time.
KCP scored a dozen of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, lifting the Lakers in the final minutes by both draining from distance and attacking the bucket. Caldwell-Pope, who was off to a cold start to the season, displayed a scorer’s mentality mixed with defensive focus.
“We’ve got to have a next man up attitude, and the next man up was KCP tonight,” LeBron said. “Hell of a job he had in that second half, especially in that fourth quarter.
“Shooting shots with extreme confidence, making shots around the rim, a couple layups and just defensively being in tune on Buddy Hield late in that game. So game ball to KCP.”
Buckets were needed. KCP provided. pic.twitter.com/XSjYZbGKCZ— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 16, 2019
3) The future is already now for Ice Trae
We’ll see who ends up getting the assignment, but there’s a big chance that KCP will be tasked with the matchup of the night: Trae Young.
The sophomore is already All-Star material, ranking third in assists (8.8) and eighth in scoring (26.6). He can strike from anywhere on the floor and has some of the league’s flashiest handles. He’s a showman who provides at least one viral moment a game, yet his production goes well beyond what makes the rounds on social media.
However, Atlanta has struggled to score despite Young’s brilliance, placing just 27th in offensive rating and among the bottom three in 3-point percentage, free throw percentage and turnovers committed. With John Collins and Kevin Huerter out, look for dunk-factory Jabari Parker and rookie De’Andre Hunter to attempt to fill the void
Atlanta should come out with some extra fire after losing a 150-101 rout to the Clippers last night. Anthony Davis — who had the game-sealing block on Friday — and the Lakers’ league-best defense will need to come ready to take care of business.
Lakers: Anthony Davis (sore right shoulder) is probable. Avery Bradley (lower left leg contusion), Talen Horton-Tucker (G League), Zach Norvell Jr. (G League), Kostas Antetokounmpo (G League) and DeMarcus Cousins (rehabilitation, right knee) are out.
Hawks: Vince Carter (personal reasons) is TBD. Kevin Huerter (left rotator cuff strain) and John Collins (league suspension) are out.
Tip-Off: 6:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: Radio Disney 1110 AM/99.1 FM
Unis: White Association
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
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