Preview: Lakers at Atlanta Hawks

The Lakers look to start their road trip with a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday

Despite their 1-9 record, the Lakers are perfect against the Eastern Conference, their lone win against the Charlotte Hornets.

On Tuesday night, the Lakers will start a three-game road trip, opening up in Atlanta against the Hawks (5-4).

Nick Young is expected to make his season debut, after sitting out since the preseason with a thumb injury.

Atlanta is averaging 101.9 points a game, but has yielded slightly more at 102.8.  Defensive small forward DeMarre Carroll is questionable with a groin strain.

The Lakers will play without Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Wayne Ellington (personal matter), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).

Key matchup

The Lakers lost a lot of firepower on their second unit to injuries with Young, Randle and Kelly out. With Nash done for the season, Jeremy Lin stepped into the starting role, and the team's bench was decimated.

Young's return could help establish balance. His individual creativity, in the absence of a good shot, is a rare skill in the NBA. Young is also a capable outside shooter, another team weakness.

The Lakers need to improve on the defensive end, but having a bench that can put some points on the board could give Coach Byron Scott a healthier rotation over 48 minutes.

On the other end of the floor, the team needs to watch Kyle Korver closely. He always seems to find a way to get an open look against the Lakers.

Korver is averaging 14.3 points a game while shooting 48.8% from the field and a stunning 57.7% from three-point range.


The Lakers have not succeeded, to date, with Kobe Bryant dominating the offense.

If Bryant can find the right balance between attacking individually and getting his teammates involved, coupled with his teammates actively looking to attack offensively, perhaps the Lakers can climb out of their slump to start the season.

The Hawks won't be easy, with forward Paul Millsap (16.8 points a game) and point guard Jeff Teague (15.0 points and 7.4 assists).

Atlanta can score; the Lakers haven't shown that they can defend.


The Lakers come in a desperate team, but the Hawks should be the favorite.

Tuesday night may be an upset in the Lakers' favor.

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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