February 26, 2018, 6:02 pm
The Lakers (25-34) take on the Hawks (18-42) on Monday in the first leg of a three-game road trip.
Los Angeles will look to win their third game in a row, while the Hawks will try to earn a victory at home after enduring a three-game road losing streak.
Atlanta is led by point guard Dennis Schroder who averages 19.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.1 steals on the season. He is coming off a rough game in which he accrued only nine points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and four turnovers. He was not alone in his struggles, as the entire team was blown out 116-93 by the Indiana Pacers.
One glimmer of hope for Atlanta is rookie power forward John Collins, who recently moved into the starting lineup as the Hawks look towards the future. Collins started the last contest and finished with nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks. He is assured more playing time down the stretch as Atlanta agreed to a buyout with previous starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova so that he could sign with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers were saved in their last game by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who scored 17 points in the third quarter to help Los Angeles overcome a double-digit deficit to the Sacramento Kings. He finished with season-highs in points (34) and 3-pointers (8). This game will be a homecoming of sorts for Caldwell-Pope, as he played at the University of Georgia.
Brandon Ingram continues to improve; over his last 20 games he is averaging 16.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists on 50.4 percent shooting from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range. He doesn’t even turn 21 years old until the beginning of next year and his ceiling is unlimited. He has started at point guard while Lonzo Ball has been recovering from a sprained MCL, demonstrating his versatility and broad skill set. Ball is expected to play in this game, though he will likely still be on a minutes restriction.
The most consistent Laker of late has been Julius Randle, who collected his fifth career triple-double two games ago and has been a dominant force down low for Los Angeles. The Lakers are 14-12 with him in the starting lineup this season.
The Lakers have crept up to 11th place in the Western Conference but are still eight games back of a playoff spot. Although the chances of them making the playoffs are almost non-existent, the strong recent play and palpable improvement in their young players continues to foster a positive aura and sense of optimism for the franchise going forward.
The last time these two teams met was January 7 and the Lakers trampled the Hawks 132-113 to snap a nine-game losing streak. That victory sparked a four-game win streak and Los Angeles is 14-7 overall since that game.
-The Lakers score 107.6 points per game (10th) vs. Atlanta who scores only 103.5 points per game (23rd).
-Los Angeles leads the league with 53.4 points in the paint per game in contrast to Atlanta who averages 40.5 points per game in the paint (28th).
-These two teams do not take good care of the ball with the Lakers committing 15.9 turnovers per game (29th) vs. 15.4 miscues per game (25th) for the Hawks. Consequently, they are also two of the worst teams with regards to opponents’ points off of turnovers with Los Angeles conceding 18.8 points per game (29th) and Atlanta 17.3 points per game (23rd).
-Controlling the glass will be crucial in this game as the Lakers are tied for allowing the most second chance points in the league with 13.8 second chance points per game while the Hawks allow 13.4 second chance points per game (25th).
-Defense is paramount for the Lakers who have a 97.9 defensive rating in their victories and a 111.1 defensive rating in their losses. For the season, the Lakers own a 105.6 defensive rating (14th) compared to 108.0 (22nd) for Atlanta.
– Both teams average 23.7 assists per game.
Projected Starting Lineups
Brandon Ingram (PG)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)
Josh Hart (SF)
Julius Randle (PF)
Brook Lopez (C)
Dennis Schroder (PG)
Kent Bazemore (SG)
Taurean Prince (SF)
John Collins (PF)
Dewayne Dedmon (C)
Channing Frye (appendectomy) – OUT
Malcolm Delaney (knee) – OUT
Tyler Cavanaugh (knee) – OUT
DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal strain) – DOUBTFUL
Antonius Cleveland (ankle) – OUT
Isaiah Taylor (ankle) – PROBABLE
Time: 4:30 PM PST, 7:30 PM EST
Television: FOX SPORTS SOUTHEAST – ATLANTA, SPECSN/SPECD
Radio: 92.9 FM “THE GAME”, 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES