NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 14th (All times eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (18-10) at Los Angeles Lakers (16-12), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Atlanta will kick off a five-game road trip tonight at Staples Center when they take on a Lakers team returning from its annual Grammy trek.
The Hawks, who will also visit Phoenix, Portland, Chicago and New York on their trip and are 9-5 as the visitor on the season, failed a big test the last time out, falling to Southeast Division-rival Miami, 107-87, in the ATL.
The division-leading Heat led by as many as 32 against the second-place Hawks. They outscored them at the foul line, 26-6, and won the battle on the glass, 52-38.
Willie Green scored 17 points off the bench to pace Atlanta, while All-Star Joe Johnson netted 12 in defeat. Marvin Williams and Josh Smith combined for just 14 points on 6-of-21 (29 percent) shooting.
The Hawks were coming off wins over Eastern Conference contenders Indiana and Orlando and were looking to cut into their two-game deficit in the standings. Their quest was denied early and emphatically.
"They came out with an aggression," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said. "We settled for jump shots too often in the first half, and they got out and ran."
The Lakers, meanwhile, salvaged a 3-3 mark on their recent road trip when Kobe Bryant buried a jumper with 4.2 seconds left on Sunday, lifting LA to a thrilling 94-92 win over the Raptors.
"I just noticed a spot open on the baseline. Everything was set for me to try and catch it down there because I knew I could catch and shoot. If I go to the top of the floor the defense can kind of key on me and I'm far away from the basket. Once I noticed that space open it was just a matter of me trying to shake [DeMar} DeRozan and get to that spot," Bryant said.
Following a timeout, Toronto was called for a five-second violation on the ensuing inbounds pass and Bryant made 1-of-2 from the line to make it 94-92. With 3.7 seconds remaining, DeRozan received the inbounds pass, but Metta World Peace defended him well and his shot from the left corner at the buzzer came up well short.
Bryant finished with 27 points while Pau Gasol filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 17 rebounds and six assists for the Lakers.
"We just need to find some consistency," World Peace said of the road trip. "Once we have some consistency, we'll be a better team."
LA has been a different team at home this season, compiling a solid 11-2 mark as the host. Atlanta, meanwhile, has lost five straight and 18 of 21 to the Lakers in Hollywood.
02/14 10:34:58 ET