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Lakers vs. Hawks preview: Top of the East visits bottom of the West

The Lakers have two tough games on tap and a big opportunity to cover some tanking ground.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers captured a key loss against the New York Knicks on Thursday and have the top team in the Eastern Conference visiting Staples Center. The Atlanta Hawks are flying away with the East, holding a 10-game lead over the No. 2 seed Cleveland Cavaliers. This should be an open-shut case of good basketball team beating up bad basketball team Sunday night in LA.

The Lakers are taking an extended look at Jabari Brown now, who logged 17 minutes and seven points in his debut alongside former Mizzou backcourt mate Jordan Clarkson. He's another prospect LA has been working with through the D-Fenders, giving fans a glimpse at what the franchise has been cooking with their development squad.

The Hawks should roll over the Lakers, riding Paul Millsap's scoring ability while Jeff Teague orchestrates their flowing offense. Kyle Korver should have plenty of open looks against one of the worst defenses in the NBA. The Lakers are allowing 107.5 points per 100 possessions, behind only the Minnesota Timberwolves and Knicks.

Los Angeles has the fourth-worst record in the NBA and back-to-back games against the two top teams in the NBA -- the Lakers travel to play the Warriors Monday -- should only reinforce that position. Enjoy the game and what should be a couple of drama-less losses as the tank rolls onward.

Time: 6:30 p.m. PT

Station: TWCSN