Atlanta Hawks vs Los Angeles Lakers
Sun Mar 15, 9:30 PM EST – FSSO, TWSN, SPSO
Line: ATL -9.5, O/U: 198.0
Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
It was way back on November 18th that the Lakers played the Hawks the first time this season. It was the team’s 11th and 10th games of the year respectively. The Lakers won that game (and their next one, the following night against the Rockets!) to bring their record to 2-9. Meanwhile, the Hawks fell to 5-5 after the defeat.
I bring all this up because what’s happened since that point is pretty remarkable, at least from the Hawks side. After falling to the Lakers, the Hawks have gone on to win 46 games while only losing 9. Read that again. After dropping a mid-November game to the Lakers, the Hawks essentially turned into a top-two team in the league (right there with the Warriors), dismantling every team that crossed their pass via a clockwork offense and a versatile and malleable defense. They play smart, play as a team, and punish your mistakes on both ends of the floor my making the right play as consistently as any team you’ll watch.
The Lakers, meanwhile, have won 15 more times since that game. Looking back at this season, those back to back wins against the Hawks and the Rockets may turn out to be the most WTF consecutive days of the team’s campaign. Not much has gone right since that point, that is for sure.
As for tonight, it’s tough to know what the Lakers will play like. In their last game, they came out and laid an impressively large egg against the horrid Knicks. New York came into Staples as the worst team in the league — playing a bunch of guys who you probably never heard of — and controlled the entire contest from nearly start to finish. The Lakers were never able to get over the hump and pretty much just folded their tents in the 2nd half and lost going away. This effort, however, came on the heels of the team playing some solid ball since the all-star break (note, by “solid” I don’t mean “winning”) keeping it close nightly against some pretty strong teams.
In saying that, I do not expect the Lakers to win, but I’d be lying if I said I knew for sure this game would go any specific way. The Hawks are good and smart enough to take advantage of every edge the Lakers give them, burying them in the process. I can envision quick, pointed ball movement leading to open shots at the rim and behind the arc to go along with disciplined defensive rotations that snuff out the Lakers’ attack. I could also envision the Lakers big men matching up well with the Hawks’ front line, Clarkson staying with Teague enough to make his life a little bitter harder, and them hitting enough three pointers and working the offensive glass enough to keep the game close.
Neither would surprise me in the slightest. The Lakers are that strange a team and while the Hawks’ deliberate style and superior talent and coaching will most likely win out in the end, the details that happen over the course of the contest are much less predictable. You’ll just have to watch to find out.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Wow first basket for Kelly in 6 games. Jimmy should sign him for 5 more years and his 7% field goal percentage.
The resting players throughout the year thing is garbage. Last couple of games of the season, I can accept that. Play the guy 5-10 minutes instead of 40. That’s rest.
I was kind of of hoping for the symbolism of a zero-comments game.
Gee think there was a big Bulls eye on Boozer head by their cosch.
Baylor Fan says
An 82 regular season schedule is garbage. The NBA has become a destruction derby with the healthiest team standing having the best chance to represent their conference. The Spurs have led the charge calling BS on the schedule and working to get their players to the playoffs healthy enough to compete. It was just a matter of time until more teams followed their model.
That Bazemore guy is pretty good. Maybe the Lakers could find players like him to develop.
Darius Soriano says
Seriously. This wasn’t an enjoyable game at all. The players, for long stretches, seemed to just be going through the motions. The late run that made things interesting wasn’t even that enjoyable. What a wreck of a season.
The season isn’t going to get cut any time soon. Too much gate money is generated by those extra regular season games. Subsequently, I’m not buying tickets with the possibility that healthy starters might get scratched. Others will and do.
Reggie Hammond says
This team is hard to root for probably because we know that winning is not in the teams best interest this year has a lot to do with that… but they’re not enjoyable to watch I care for only clarkson & swaggy…my what 3 years of losing basketball can do
Renato Afonso says
Yep, too bad that we never had a chance to properly evaluate and develop Bazemore. However, I’m happy he’s playing for a contender.
About the upcoming playoffs, could we please get a Warriors-Hawks Finals? Is that too much to ask?
For those who care:
-Mike Bresnahan: Julius Randle will start traveling with the Lakers next week on a five-game trip. Byron wants him to start seeing things up close. Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan – See more at: http://hoopshype.com/rumors.htm#sthash.uxfmTzWa.dpuf
-Mark Medina: Byron Scott plans to start Jeremy Lin in last 10 games, though not set in stone. Jordan Clarkson will then come off the bench Twitter @MarkG_Medina – See more at: http://hoopshype.com/rumors.htm#sthash.uxfmTzWa.dpuf
the other Stephen says
it’s a celabrashun!
To be fair, although Bazemore did show flashes of brilliance last year, it was essentially a choice between him and Xavier Henry for the backup two spot. There were stretches last season when Henry lit the world on fire while Bazemore, although lively on D, played a bit like a relentless gunner in a contract year
I would have benched Clarkson a month ago as many here know… But better late than never.
The fact that the Lakers, Knicks and Celtics are all having abysmal seasons cannot be good for the league as a whole. David Silver and co know this. I understand the original intent of the draft, but it is clear that this part of the system is just broken. I would love to see a system where every team that does not make the playoffs PLUS the bottom two of the teams that make the playoffs get a statistical equal shot at picks 1-18, plus make every pick involving a trade, top 5 protected.
The NBA is a very popular league. No question about it. But the league needs its juggernaut teams in “cool” cities to ensure it stays as popular as it is globally.
J C says
Gentlemen! I’m back.
To say that Thailand was amazing would be an understatement.
If you haven’t been, you must go, for a variety of reasons.
It’s nice to see other parts of the world and I have been mostly ignorant of this.
Really gives you a new perspective.
I see that our tank is still basically on track.
I wonder if other tanking teams face similar issues –
such as having a few competitive players on the roster actually trying to win games.
Guys I still enjoy watching: I still like watching Ed Davis rebound and finish at the rim,
I enjoy seeing Hill expand his game in what for him essentially amounts to a contract year,
and I enjoy seeing Jeremy Lin barreling to the rim and finishing a surprising number of plays.
I don’t really miss Swaggy’s version of street ball.
As stated before, I’m not really a huge Clarkson fan and if we finish out of the running for Towns or Okafor, rest assured we’ll select a PG that will most likely surpass Clarkson on the depth chart.
Now 20 games out, Denver is showing the template for the lottery bound resting healthy players because of a front office mandate. The Philly v Lakers games might be the most sour set of games for the season.