The Los Angeles Lakers begin their highly-anticipated three-game road trip with a game against the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night. It will be the first half of a back-to-back that sends the purple and gold to Houston to have some tea and crumpets with Dwight Howard and James Harden Wednesday on national television. But let's not get too ahead of ourselves here.
The Hawks are a good team, as they always seem to be, but not a great team. Most of their success will be in the flame-shooting hands of Kyle Korver and health of ultra-talented big man Al Horford, but Paul Millsap has been a great addition for the team. He gives Atlanta a great, versatile one-two frontcourt punch that few teams have.
Los Angeles is in a strange place. Their offense is archaic and there simply isn't enough talent to make up for this. The response has been for Kobe Bryant to put up as many shots as possible. On some nights it works, he's efficient, and he gets 30 or so points in losses. On other nights it doesn't. The thing is, even when it works, does it really even matter? The Lakers are 1-9, which means even if Kobe continues putting up 20-30 field goal attempts per night they're still on pace to be 2-18. The offense needs to find some sort of rhythm, and keeping players involved, right or wrong, also keeps them engaged on defense.
Nick Young should return (fingers crossed) against the Hawks, which should help with the lack of scoring ability outside of Kobe Bryant. The Lakers will give an update before the game, but he's had this game circled for his season debut for about a week now, and all news since has been positive. If nothing else, Young gives the Lakers a player who's enjoyable to watch, will play his tail off and is actually effective when put in the right places. That third point is the one fans should be worried about.
Either way, another Lakers outing is on the horizon. Enjoy the game, and (hopefully) welcome back Swaggy.
Time: 4:30 p.m. PT