Full-strength Lakers look to keep rolling vs. Hawks
The Los Angeles Lakers should be at full strength when they complete their seven-game road trip with a stop in Atlanta on Monday, but the Hawks will be without a key starter.
Los Angeles center Anthony Davis returned after missing one game with a right quad contusion to log 27 points and 14 rebounds on Saturday and help the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 96-95 and end a two-game losing streak.
But Atlanta's De'Andre Hunter, the team's second-leading scorer (17.2 points), will miss this game and likely the three other contests the Hawks have this week with an injured knee. He left the Washington game on Friday midway in the second quarter with right knee discomfort and an MRI revealed "articular wear and tear." He underwent an undisclosed non-surgical procedure and will be re-evaluated next week.
Davis averages 22.2 points and 9.1 rebounds and combines with LeBron James (25.2, 7.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists) to create a powerful one-two punch. James has been dealing with a sprained left ankle, but he showed little signs of trouble when he posted 21 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in 37 minutes on Saturday. The Lakers are 4-2 on their road trip.
"For me, personally, it's getting back in attack mode," Davis said. "Being aggressive. Crashing the offensive glass. Being in the paint. All those types of things."
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said: "(Davis is) getting into that mode right now. He's starting to pick it up. The injury set him back a little bit, but we want him to be assertive. And when he's assertive on both sides of the ball, we're very difficult to beat."
Both players have a history of success against Atlanta. In 57 career games against the Hawks, James is averaging 27.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists.
In 14 career games against Atlanta, Davis is averaging 19.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.
Atlanta is coming off a 116-100 road win against the Washington Wizards, as Trae Young continued his torrid scoring with a 41-point performance. The Hawks have won five of their last seven games.
Young is averaging 37.6 points over the last five games, scoring 38 or more in four of those contests. He has raised his season average to 27 points. His shooting percentage has risen, too, as Young has made 48.6 percent (54 of 111) of his attempts and 53.6 percent of 3s (22 of 41) during that stretch; he's hitting 42 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent of 3s this season.
Young drilled his 400th career three pointer on Friday, making him the fastest player in NBA history to reach that career total, needing just 159 games.
On Friday, Young scored 10 straight points for the Hawks after the Wizards had cut the lead to 10 and helped re-establish the advantage back to 16 points.
"Thankful for Trae, his composure and his ability to finish the game," Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said. "As ugly as the game was, as wild as the game was, we got the win and Trae really closed us out down the stretch when we needed it. He is in attack mode every time he has the basketball."
The series has been dominated by the Lakers, who lead it 82-49 since the Hawks moved to Atlanta. The Lakers won both games last year and have won seven of the last eight meetings.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2021