The Los Angeles Lakers have established themselves as the best road team in the NBA very early. They’ve pretty much done the impossible, winning several games where past teams would falter. Whether it was the Denver Nuggets or Utah Jazz altitude, they’ve risen to the occasion. After handing the Miami Heat their first home loss of the season on Friday night and defeating South Florida nightlife, the squad is headed to the ATL.
King Me, Please!
Sunday’s matchup marks the second meeting of the year between the Lakers and Atlanta Hawks. Their last contest took place in Staples Center, where the Lakers routed them, 122-101. LeBron James led the way with a vintage performance of 33 points and 12 assists in front of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. The King has tallied 19 games of 10 or more assists and the Lakers are 18-1 in those games.
Georgia’s Own KCP
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had one of the roughest starts of the year in the Lakers’ rotation, but November and December have been much kinder to him than October. The Greenville, Georgia native began that month shooting 35.7 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from three-point range. In November and December, he’s shot a combined 49 percent from field goal range and 41 percent from the three, per ESPN.com. Much of his success, as he states, is credited to his insertion as a starter and strong support from teammates. He’s put up 10.7 points per game on 52 percent shooting since stepping in for the injured and now returned Avery Bradley.
Emptying The Ice Trae
It’s always tricky for the Lakers being ahead of the NBA pack because they’ll get their opponents’ best shot. It’s going to be important that they take care of business and find ways to slow down Trae Young, who looks to lead the way for the Hawks. In the November matchup, he tallied 31 points against the Lakers. In last season’s lone visit to State Farm Arena, the Hawks defeated the Lakers 117-113 behind many highlight plays that fans would like to forget. With the combined efforts of Alex Caruso, Avery Bradley, and the aforementioned Caldwell-Pope — they should be able to keep Young at the bay of inefficiency.
The Lakers are 191-140 in all-time matchups against the Hawks.
Tip-off for Sunday’s game is scheduled for 6:00PM EST/3:00PM PST at State Farm Arena.