The Atlanta Hawks head to Hollywood on Sunday as they make their fifth stop of a six-game road trip to battle Kobe Bryant and the resurgent Los Angeles Lakers in prime time.
L.A. looks to win their fourth consecutive home game, which would bump the Lakers up to a .500 record for the first time in more than two months. The Lakers currently sit 9th in the Western Conference standings, 2.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the final playoff spot.
Atlanta, meanwhile, has been quietly sneaking up the Eastern Conference standings and currently ranks 4th behind the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. If the Hawks can hold off the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the season, they’ll host a first-round playoff series.
Al Horford has been hot for Atlanta, averaging 24.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, while shooting .659 percent over the last eight contests. He has five double-doubles during the span, including his third career 20/20 game, and has scored over 20 points and made at least .500 percent of his field goals in each contest (seven games with 10-plus field goals made). Horford set new career-highs with 34 points and 14 FGM at Utah on Feb. 27, and has scored 20-plus in eight consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Who?: Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Lakers
What?: East vs West Showdown (Game #58, Road Game #30)
Where?: Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA)
When?: Sunday, March 3, 2013 – 9:30 PM (EST)
How?: SportSouth HDTV / 680 AM & 93.7 FM
Projected Starting Lineups
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: DeShawn Stevenson | SF: Josh Smith | PF: Al Horford | C: Zaza Pachulia
Los Angeles Lakers:
PG: Steve Nash | SG: Kobe Bryant | SF: Metta World Peace | PF: Earl Clark | C: Dwight Howard
Injury/Inactive Players Report
Atlanta Hawks: Lou Williams (torn right ACL) is out.
Los Angeles Lakers: Dwight Howard (torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable. Pau Gasol (torn plantar fascia, right foot) and Jordan Hill (left hip surgery) are out.
Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold
Records: Atlanta Hawks (33-24) … Los Angeles Lakers (29-30)
Streaks: Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Lost 1 / HOME: Won 1 / ROAD: Lost 1 … Los Angeles Lakers –> OVERALL: Won 1 / HOME: Won 3 / ROAD: Lost 1
Home/Away Records: Hawks are (15-14) away … Lakers are (19-11) at home.
Atlanta Hawks: Lukewarm. The Hawks had their four-game winning streak snapped by the Phoenix Suns on Friday but look to be on the right track, having won seven of their past 10 games overall.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lukewarm. The Lakers are fighting for a playoff spot and have won their last four-of-five games overall, including three straight home victories.
Season/Past Season Series
The Lakers welcome the Hawks for the only time this year in the first-of-two showdowns between the teams. Los Angeles comes to Philips Arena on 3/13 to closeout the season series. The Lakers took the only meeting last year, an 86-78 home decision on 2/14/12. L.A. currently owns a three-game winning streak in the series and has taken six straight at home. Atlanta’s last win over the Lakers was a 109-92 home triumph on 3/31/10, while their last victory in L.A. came on 2/15/06 (114-110). The Lakers lead the all-time series 181-134, including a 41-16 home record since the Hawks moved to Atlanta.
Hawks coach Larry Drew played with the Lakers from 1989-91, was an assistant coach for several years with the club, and makes his permanent home in L.A. Hawks Player Development Instructor Nick Van Exel starred for the Lakers from 1993-98, while assistant coach Lester Conner is also a former player for the Lakers. Ivan Johnson finished his collegiate career at Cal. State San Bernadino. Pau Gasol was originally selected by Atlanta (third overall) in the 2001 NBA Draft before his rights were dealt on draft night. Dwight Howard played his high school ball at SW Atlanta Christian Academy, and was an AAU teammate of Josh Smith. Jodie Meeks starred at Norcross HS, leading the Blue Devils to the 2006 state title. Jordan Hill grew up in Atlanta, and played his first two high schools seasons as North Springs HS in Sandy Springs. Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham played 75 games for Atlanta in 2002-03.Dahntay Jones and Chris Duhon were college teammates for two seasons at Duke. Dahntay Jones has been teammates with Pau Gasol (Memphis 2003-07) and Metta World Peace (Sacramento 2007-08). DeShawn Stevenson has been teammates with Dwight Howard (Orlando 2004-06) and Antawn Jamison (2006 through part of 2009-10 season). Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks played together in Philadelphia (part of 2009-10 through 2012).
Information was used from the Hawks and Lakers official gamenotes