The Lakers (54-20) are having problems maintaining consistency throughout games.
Which comes at a time they face one of the best teams in the league, the Atlanta Hawks (47-26).
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Los Angeles suffered a setback with their 108-100 loss against the Hornets, a team that is out of playoff contention.
With the lack of execution from the bench, the focus gets pushed to the starters to play at high level from start to finish.
The Lakers were hoping to have a 5-0 or 4-1 roadtrip. And while things started off great, with a win in San Antonio, they’ll return home 3-2 from the trip at best.
Atlanta, however, is one of the best home teams in the league, with a 30-7 record in Philips Arena.
They’ve also won 8 straight home games, and will be looking to make a statement win with a bit of payback to the Lakers.
The last meeting was in Staples Center, where L.A. took the victory, 118-110 behind Bryant’s 41 points.
It seems as if the Twin Towers are trading places, as Bynum played in the first meeting without Gasol, Pau will be playing without Andrew in this upcoming matchup.
Defense will need to be the ultimate priority to stop this team. The bench has been inconsistent. They’ll have to find some continuity from each other since their leader Lamar Odom has been stepping in for the injured Andrew Bynum in the starting lineup. Kobe may look to score early if Atlanta doesn’t stick to their usual game plan, as they’ve held Bryant to 14.0 points in the last two meetings in Philips Arena.
(C) P. Gasol
(PF) L. Odom
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher
X-Factor: Execution & Defensive intensity.
A. Bynum (left Achilles) is out.
(C) A. Horford
(PF) J. Smith
(SF) M. Williams
(SG) J. Johnson
(PG) M. Bibby
X-Factor: Jamal Crawford (17.7 ppg from the bench)