The Lakers look to bounce back tonight after their first loss of the 2009 season against perennial bottom-dwellers, the Atlanta Hawks. While in years past this would certainly be a sure thing, Atlanta has become a very respectable opponent thanks to a successful blend of young talent and savvy veterans. The Lakers will have to play a tough game to avoid going 1-2, and falling under .500 for the first time since 2007. After their absolute dismantling at the hands of the Mavericks on Friday night, the Lakers should certainly be hungry for victory, and looking to make fans and critics alike jump back onto the Los Angeles bandwagon. For the Lakers to be successful tonight against their first eastern conference opponent of the season, there are several things they are going to have to change from their disastrous effort against Dallas last Friday.
- Increase shooting percentage: On Friday night the Lakers shot a horrendous 39.5 percent from the field, and an even more dismal 30.4 percent from beyond the arc. If Los Angeles wants to get back into the win column tonight against the Hawks they are going to need to drastically improve these numbers. Look for the Lakers to go inside more often and try to limit the three point attempts, as these are two solid ways of improving a team’s overall shooting percentage.
- Turnovers: Another poor spot in the Friday night box score was the Lakers’ turnovers. A championship caliber team cannot expect to turn the ball over nineteen times and win very many games. This will be especially crucial against Atlanta’s high powered, high-speed offense tonight. Turnovers will lead to fast breaks and easy buckets for the Hawks, so watch for the Lakers to take better care of the ball tonight.
- The mental factor: Friday night was a tough pill to swallow for the Lakers, and left many people questioning the Lakers ability to repeat. It is important for the Lakers to remember that titles are not won or lost in October and November, and they must go out there tonight and put the tough loss behind them. A strong performance tonight will go a long way in proving the mental toughness of the Lakers, something that has been questioned in the past.
Tonight’s game against Atlanta will be an interesting one with plenty of story lines. The return of Pau Gasol is still questionable, and there is a very good chance he will miss tonight’s game as well. This is definitely a big game for the Lakers, as they look to bounce back and once again establish their dominance and get back on the winning track. Only one thing is certain, you better be ready for an exciting game Lakers Nation.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Tip-off – 6:30 PST
Radio: 710 ESPN (NEW Home of the Lakers)