After suffering an embarrassing loss at the hands of the then-winless Philadelphia Sixers, the Los Angeles Lakers (3-15) bounced back with an impressive 108-104 victory over the Washington Wizards.
In vintage fashion, Kobe Bryant was able to close out the game in the fourth quarter, while on his way to a season-high 31 points.
Meanwhile, the purple and gold got career-high contributions from Julius Randle’s 19 rebounds and Lou Williams’ seven steals, with both scoring in double figures. They will try to keep the winning recipe going as they take on the Atlanta Hawks (12-9).
The Hawks pose a very physical frontcourt with scoring ability in Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Horford is a three-time All-Star in his 9th year out of Florida with a career average of 14 points and nine rebounds.
Next him is Millsap, who is in his third season with Atlanta. A two-time All-Star in his own right, Millsap has established himself as a lethal scorer in the post with a 13-point, seven rebound average as he enters his 10th year in the league.
The Atlanta backcourt is led by their floor general Jeff Teague, who is in his seventh year out of Wake Forest. He is coming off his first All-Star selection of his career and after steady contributions over the last few years, seems poised to take the next step among elite point guards in the East.
Rounding out the Hawks starting lineup is the sharpshooter Kyle Korver. The record-holder for most consecutive games with a three is renowned throughout the NBA for his ability to shoot the ball. The Lakers will need to keep Korver in check if they want to prevent him from heating up.
Keys To The Game:
Play Within the Offense: Although Kobe took 24 shots, a lot of them were good looks set up by the offense. If he is going to take those shots, they might as well be high-percentage ones like they were on Wednesday. Jordan Clarkson was also able to take more shots as he got into a rhythm on offense on his way to 18 points.
Continue to Capitalize off Turnovers: Although the Lakers entered Wednesday’s game ranked 22nd in the league in points off turnovers, they really made Washington pay for not taking care of the ball. They forced 23 turnovers and managed to capitalize by scoring 33 points on them.
Enjoy the Away Treatment: Given the circumstances of Kobe’s retirement, basketball fans from across the nation are flocking to their home arenas to pay their respects to a legend. As a result, opposing crowds fill the arena with chants of “Kobe” and “Lakers.” Of course, it helps that any Laker fans in the area manage to make their way to Kobe’s last game in their respective hometowns, but it helps this young core even more to have the feel of a home crowd on this long road trip as they continue to get things on the right track.
Los Angeles Lakers (3-15) vs. Atlanta Hawks (12-9)
5:00 Pm PST December 4, 2015
Phillips Arena, Atlanta,Georgia
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 (Spanish)
Hawks Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jeff Teague
SG: Kyle Korver
SF: Thabo Sefolosha
PF: Paul Millsap
C: Al Horford
Key Reserves: PG Dennis Schroeder, SG Kent Bazemore, PF Mike Scott
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: SG Lou Williams, PF Brandon Bass, SF Metta World Peace