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The Atlanta Hawks are set to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Lakers hoping to get back on track
The last month has been a series of ups and downs for the Lakers that has seen them fall out of the playoff picture entirely during that process. This has been due to a various amount of different issues that ranges from the trade rumors that floated around the team to LeBron James missing an extended period of time due to a groin injury that he suffered back on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors. Since then, it has been a continued uphill battle for Los Angeles to right the ship toward getting back on the right track. They had put forth an encouraging performance on the road against the Boston Celtics last week, but that was followed by a discouraging blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. This has pushed them to hold a 3-7 record in the last 10 games being two games clear of the eighth overall spot in the Western Conference standings that is being held by the Sacramento Kings.
🎥 Kyle Kuzma came out on fire early today, dropping 23 of his 39 points in the first quarter. pic.twitter.com/JX5fPFtt88
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 10, 2019
However, this has seen their core group pick it up in the process over the last few games. In the three games that James has played in the month of February, he is averaging a near triple-double with 21.3 points, 10.0 assists, and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. Although he is listed as probable for Tuesday’s game, James should be in line to take the floor against the Hawks. Second-year forward Kyle Kuzma has also stepped it up offensively in the first four games played this month as he’s averaging 22.3 points on 49.3 percent shooting from the floor and 45.8 percent from beyond the arc. Kuzma is coming off a 39-point performance against the 76ers. James and Kuzma should be in line for some strong performances with a prime matchup against one of the league’s worst defenses in the Hawks that should push the Lakers back on track on the road prior to the All-Star break.
Hawks’ stumble south continues
It has been nothing short of yet another frustrating campaign for the Hawks that has seen them sit well outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Their decision to roll with their youth leading the charge has put forth several growing pains along the way that has featured plenty of issues for them to work through. A large part of this has laid with their lack of defensive efficiency as they hold arguably the worst defense in the league up to this point in the season. The Hawks rank last giving up 118.5 points per contest, which is nearly two points more than any other team in the NBA while being tied for 28th with opponent shooting 47.7 percent from the floor and 23rd with opponents shooting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. These issues have remained prevalent over the last couple of weeks as they have allowed nine straight opponents to top 110 points including seven scoring at least 120 points and two surpassing 130 points. In fact, they are heading into Tuesday’s tilt giving up more than 120 points in back-to-back games.
.@jcollins20_ can jam with the best of them.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 11, 2019
This utter lack of consistent play on that end of the floor that has prevented their youth shining through on the court. Second-year forward John Collins has been one of their bright spots with his promising play on the court. Collins has picked it up in the last five games as he’s averaging 19.6 points and 9.6 rebounds in the last five games that include three double-doubles over that span. Meanwhile, rookie point guard Trae Young is coming off a solid January where he earned Eastern Conference rookie of the month honors with a conference-leading 18.7 points and 7.2 assists among rookies. This saw him become the first rookie since John Wall to average at least 18.0 points and 7.0 assists in 10 or more games in any month. Despite that forward progress in that regard, what will decide Tuesday’s tilt will be the Hawks’ play defensively. Their struggles on that end of the floor over the last couple of weeks leads to the notion that their three-game skid will be extended with the Lakers’ pushing toward a strong offensive performance on the road.
- Hawks are 2-5 ATS in their last seven contests after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Hawks are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall.
- Hawks are 2-5 ATS in their last seven contests after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Lakers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss.
- Lakers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games.
- Lakers are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games playing on one day’s rest.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Lakers have been difficult to trust on a nightly basis, but the opportunity to go up against one of the worst defenses in the league should see them put forth a strong offensive performance led by James and Kuzma. All of this has the making of Los Angeles being able to grab a much-needed win on the road to help fuel their push toward the playoffs. The Lakers are also 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings against the Hawks.
Prediction: Los Angeles -5.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The Lakers have proven to be a formidable scoring team in the league this season that should see them add another strong outing with a matchup against the NBA’s worst defense. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has had their fair share of defensive issues this year that should pave the way for it being a high-scoring affair on both sides. Keep in mind, the over is 4-1 in the last five meetings between both of these teams in Atlanta.
Prediction: Over 236