NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 19th (All times eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (21-28) at Los Angeles Lakers (35-17), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks continue a six-game road trip, as they visit the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at the Staples Center.
Both teams will play their first game since the All-Star break.
This is the second and final meeting of the campaign between the clubs. On February 6th, Joe Johnson scored 28 points, including four free throws in the final 23 seconds, as the Hawks beat the Lakers, 98-95, at Philips Arena.
Atlanta has lost three of its last four at the Lakers.
The Hawks made a big trade on Saturday. They acquired point guard Mike Bibby from Sacramento in exchange for guards Anthony Johnson and Tyronn Lue, forward Shelden Williams, center Lorenzen Wright and a second-round pick in the 2008 draft.
Bibby has been hampered by a thumb injury this season that has limited him to 15 games. He is averaging 13.5 points and 5.0 assists per game. Selected by Vancouver with the second overall pick of the 1998 draft, Bibby has averaged 16.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 690 games with Vancouver and Sacramento during his career.
Joe Johnson leads the Hawks in scoring (20.6 ppg) and assists (5.2 apg), while rookie Al Horford is averaging a team-best 10.0 rebounds per game.
Atlanta is 6-17 on the road this season. The Hawks dropped their first game on the swing at Charlotte, and lost four in a row prior to the break. They will also visit Sacramento, Golden State, Utah and San Antonio on the current swing.
The Lakers entered the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak. They are 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Phoenix Suns in the Pacific Division.
Superstar Kobe Bryant, who has a dislocated pinkie finger on his right hand, leads the Lakers in scoring (28.0 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg). Bryant is determined to play through his injury, which reportedly requires surgery that would sideline him six-to-eight weeks.
Pau Gasol, who was acquired from Memphis in a big trade on February 1st, is averaging 20.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in six games with the Lakers, who are 5-1 with Gasol in the lineup.
The Lakers are 17-7 as the host this season. After tonight's contest, they will embark on a three-game swing against Phoenix, the Clippers and Seattle.
02/19 10:31:29 ET