After a tough win against the Miami Heat, the Lakers are now on their way to Atlanta, where they’ll take on the Hawks and look to win their 14th road game in a row. The Lakers away victories have been fun to watch for Lakers fans, not only because their winning, but also because they haven’t been so good away from Staples Center (or, just in general) the last few seasons.
The Lakers are 26 games into the season, and already have a total of 13 away victories. Let’s see how that looks in context.
Total Lakers away wins over the last eight seasons
- 2018-19: 15 wins
- 2017-18: 15 wins
- 2016-17: 9 wins
- 2015-16: 5 wins
- 2014-15: 9 wins
- 2013-14: 13 wins
- 2012-13: 16 wins
- 2011-12: 15 wins
So they’ve already surpassed four entire seasons, and are only a handful of victories behind outpacing all of those campaigns entirely. Not bad, and the pace they’re on is even better.
Best Start Through 26 Games - Lakers Franchise History— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) December 14, 2019
The best road record in NBA history is 34-7 by the 2015-16 Warriors. The Lakers are ahead of that pace nearly 1/3 of the way through the season. @ Atlanta on Sunday.— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) December 14, 2019
In order to get their 14th road win in a row, the Lakers will have to beat Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. The last time these two teams played, the Lakers handily beat them, 122-101, with Kobe Bryant in attendance. Danny Green also had that put-back slam that brought the house down.
The Lakers didn’t exactly slow down Young, who scored 31 points on 50% shooting, but they did slow him down from the three-point line, as he only made two of his eight threes. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played a big role in that, holding Young to 0-4 from three. The Lakers also didn’t have Avery Bradley that game due to injury, so he will probably have a ton of minutes to try and make things harder on Young.
This shouldn’t by any means be a difficult game. The Hawks are tied for the second-worst record in the NBA at 6-20, they’re last in the league in 3-point percentage at 31.8%, and also last in turnovers at 17.4 per game.
However, the Hawks are tied with the Lakers in points in the paint per game at 53.1, so L.A. is going to have to do a good job of taking care of the space around the rim, which the team has done this season. The Lakers rank fifth in opposition points in the paint, compared to the Hawks who rank 27th.
So again, this game shouldn’t be too tough. But as we’ve seen this season, the Lakers at times play to their competition’s level and get off to slow starts. It’ll be on the Lakers to go in with the right mindset to pull away with what should be an easy victory.
Notes and Updates
- Kyle Kuzma is out for the third game in a row with a left ankle sprain. Before Kuzma sat out on Friday against the Miami Heat, Frank Vogel said that the Lakers are “gonna take as long as we need to make sure it get’s right.”
- In additional injury report news, LeBron James is listed as questionable to play in Atlanta with a sore right elbow he sustained at the end of Friday’s game. Avery Bradley (hairline fracture, right leg), Anthony Davis (sore right shoulder) and Rajon Rondo (left hamstring strain) are all probable, and you can find more information on their various statuses here.
- In better news, the Lakers have been getting really good production from their center tandem of Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee, something Vogel highlighted after the win against the Heat.
L.A. is investing less than $6M in centers, but it hasn’t shown.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) December 14, 2019
If JaVale and Dwight were actually one guy, DwaVale McHoward would be tied for 2nd in field goal percentage and blocks, and rank 5th in rebounds.
That tag team is paying dividends for L.A. https://t.co/jdClnYVglK
The Lakers will take on the Hawks at 3:00 p.m. PST, and the game will be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.