Preview: Lakers start eight-game homestand Friday vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Lakers (12-50) play their next eight games at home, starting with the Atlanta Hawks (33-28) on Friday night at Staples Center.

With five wins in 35 tries on the road, the Lakers only have six away games left -- one of which is a "visit" to the Clippers at Staples.

The Hawks, among the top five teams in the Eastern Conference, are less dominant than they were a year ago but still a formidable opponent.

It's still unclear if Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Jordan Clarkson (knee) will be available; both are game-time decisions. The Lakers will play without Lou Williams (hamstring).

Atlanta is without Tiago Splitter, out for the season after hip surgery.

Key matchup

The Lakers are enjoying a serious surge from rookie D'Angelo Russell. In his last game at Staples Center last week, he scored 39 points against the Brooklyn Nets.

He'll face Jeff Teague, who is averaging 14.9 points and 5.6 assists a night, while shooting 43.5% from the field and 40.4% from behind the three-point arc.

On the season, Russell is at 13.1 points with 3.5 assists, but in two March games, he's averaged 31.5 points and 4.5 assists, shooting 54.8% from the field and 52.4% from three-point range.

If Clarkson is unable to play, the Lakers are going to need a strong performance from Russell.

X-factor

The Hawks have a dynamic frontcourt with All-Stars Paul Millsap and Al Horford.

Together, the pair is tallying 32.9 points and 15.8 rebounds a game this season.

The Lakers counter with Julius Randle and Roy Hibbert. The team has gradually grown to rely on Randle as a double-digit rebounder.

Expect Brandon Bass to get a lot of minutes in place of Hibbert, given the mobility of Atlanta's bigs.

Outlook

The Lakers at near full strength have a shot against the Hawks, but Atlanta should be able to get the road win on Friday night.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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