(Anna Lupean/Los Angeles Lakers)
Lakers at Hawks: 3 Things to Know (12/15/19)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers make a stop in Atlanta against the Hawks.
1) Will the King hold court?
LeBron James could miss his first game of the season, as the Lakers’ leader is listed as questionable due to a sore right elbow.
Some soreness makes sense given how James described Friday’s win over Miami as “a heavyweight bout” and “like an old-school, Foreman-Ali or Tyson-Holyfield.” And it took a brilliant finish from LeBron to overcome an uncharacteristic start in his return to South Beach.
James entered the halftime locker room with only 11 points, three assists and a whopping seven turnovers. But as the Lakers’ rallied from a 14-point deficit, he put up 17 points, nine dimes and just one giveaway in the second half, as L.A. handed Miami its first home loss in 12 home games.
The King’s erupting pic.twitter.com/Us6bK70qol— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 14, 2019
2) Bigs are living up to their billing
Even if LeBron isn’t able to play, the Lakers have plenty of spare muscle thanks to the play of their frontcourt.
In particular, Anthony Davis (33 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) and JaVale McGee (nine points, 10 rebounds, five blocks) are coming off impressive two-way performances in Florida. But don’t sleep on Dwight Howard, who keyed the Lakers’ comeback by scrapping for four offensive rebounds.
All three bigs rank among the league’s top 20 in blocks — with AD second overall at 2.6 per game. With such a frontcourt, it’s a small wonder that the Lakers lead the NBA in rejections (7.1) and rank fourth in defensive rating (103.4).
3) Hawks are hurting
It’s been a rough stretch for Atlanta, which has lost 14 of its last 16 games. Three-point shooting (31.8%) and turnovers (17.0) have been at the center of this, as the Hawks rank last in the NBA in both categories.
But a team always has what it takes to win when it has a player of Trae Young’s caliber. The sophomore has already taken the NBA by storm, ranking fourth in the entire Association in both scoring (27.7) and assists (8.6). He finds a way to make impossible passes find their targets and pretty much has 47-foot range from downtown.
Jabari Parker has also been a hammer at the rim for Atlanta, which will be on a mission to protect home court against a Lakers squad that has won 13 straight on the road.
Lakers: Anthony Davis (right shoulder soreness), Rajon Rondo (left hamstring strain) and Avery Bradley (hairline fracture, right leg) are probable. LeBron James (sore right elbow) is questionable. Kyle Kuzma (left ankle sprain) and DeMarcus Cousins (rehabilitation, right knee) are out.
Hawks: John Collins (league suspension) is out.
Tip-Off: 3 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: Radio Disney 1110 AM/99.1 FM
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: State Farm Arena — Atlanta, Georgia
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