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Lakers vs. Hawks Preview: Potential trade partners go at it

The Lakers’ chance to win this one will heavily depend on the effort and energy they decide to play with on Tuesday against the Hawks.

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Lakers are back at it on Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks after getting embarrassed by the Houston Rockets on Monday. This will be the first time Los Angeles faces Atlanta, whom they’ve been in touch with over the past few weeks as the trade deadline approaches.

Start time and TV schedule

Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks

When: 4:30 p.m. PT, Jan. 30

Where: State Farm Arena

Watch: Spectrum Sportsnet

The Lakers had the chance to build off their momentum to win three in a row on Monday but instead faltered yet again this season against the Rockets. Not only did L.A.’s defense fail to show up for most of the game but they also played like they forgot they had a game.

It’s games like this that make you think that the only thing that has been consistent for the Lakers this season is that when they take a step forward in the right direction, they take two steps backward right after. That’s why it’s not a surprise that the Lakers are looking to trade for someone of Dejounte Murray’s caliber to upgrade the talent of this roster.

But what’s ironic is that there’s a chance that Murray — who is listed as questionable on the Hawks’ injury report — might not suit up on Tuesday. If that’s the case then that sure favors the purple and gold who struggled to defend the Rockets’ backcourt on Monday.

It also didn’t help that the Lakers’ own backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves just didn’t have enough to keep up with the Rockets offensively. Reaves, in particular, finished the contest with just eight points on 3-8 shooting from the field.

I emphasized the Lakers’ backcourt production because they have to be at their best on Tuesday against Trae Young — who is averaging 27.0 points and 10.8 assists this season. Young is a big reason why this Hawks team ranks fourth in the league in points per game (120.2).

On top of that, this Atlanta team also attempts a lot of 3-pointers (37.7) and can rebound the ball really well. The Lakers can’t give up 19 second chance points, 29 fast break points and 68 points in the paint as they did against the Rockets if they want a chance in this one.

That said, the weakest link of this Hawks team is their defense where they rank at the bottom of the league and is a big reason why they’re 19-27. They don’t have a competent point-of-attack defender or someone who can stop the Lakers’ wings. Hopefully, L.A. takes advantage of that.

But at the end of the day, the Lakers’ chance to win this one will heavily depend on the effort and energy they decide to play with on Tuesday and on the second night of a back-to-back.

Let’s see how the Lakers respond on Tuesday versus the Hawks after getting punked hard by the Rockets tonight.

Notes and Updates:

  • The Lakers’ injury report for Tuesday’s game against the Hawks has yet to be released, but Anthony Davis already stated that he’ll be a game-time decision after his groin flared up in the second half of Tuesday’s game.
  • As for James, who played 37 minutes tonight, expect him to be in uniform tomorrow,
  • Cam Reddish (right ankle sprain) — who will be re-evaluated in two weeks — will be out as well as Gabe Vincent (left knee surgery).
  • Meanwhile for the Hawks, Dejounte Murray (right hamstring tightness), De’Andre Hunter (right knee inflamation), Kobe Bufkin (G-League), Seth Lundy (G-League) are noted as questionable. Bruno Fernando (lower back spasms), Mouhamed Gueye (right lower back stress fracture), Vit Krejci (left shoulder) are out.
  • This will be the Lakers’ first set of back-to-back games since Dec. 31, 2023. They’re only 2-7 on the second night of a back-to-back this season.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani

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