Lakers seek to get win back against Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks defeated the Lakers in Atlanta on Jan. 30, 138-122.

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers (36-32) only have 14 games left in the regular season. Every game gets bigger than the last and, unfortunately for the Lakers, they’ve lost their last two. They can’t seem to solve the Sacramento Kings puzzle last Wednesday; the Kings won all four match-ups against them this season. And then we had the bizarre ending on Saturday where the shot clock couldn’t seem to function against the Warriors. They lost after about a 20-minute delay. And Anthony Davis had to leave the game because of an eye injury.

Whether Davis plays or not (he’s listed as questionable and there were murmurs that he was ready to go but nothing has been officially said as of this writing), the Lakers have to keep going. They draw the Atlanta Hawks at home for Monday night.

The last time the Lakers faced the Hawks, it was not a pleasant game. L.A. played some rather uninspired basketball; it’s like the players want to be home playing Madden or Fortnite. Their defense felt nonexistent and the Hawks rang up 138 points on them. Three players (Trae Young, Jalen Johnson, Clint Capela) all had double-doubles. The Lakers were outrebounded by double figures and also missed 11 foul shots.

Davis also did not play in that game but that shouldn’t be an excuse to come out like they were ready to take a nap instead of playing a professional basketball game. And even if Davis doesn’t play in this game, well, the Lakers would really blow another golden opportunity here. Platinum, even.

Trae Young had surgery on his hand on Feb. 25th and won’t be re-evaluated for another week. So he’s out. Multiple players (including Saddiq Bey, Onyeka Okongwu, and AJ Griffin) also did not play on Sunday against the Clippers. But the Hawks also upset the Clippers so we absolutely cannot count Atlanta out.

They still have previous trade deadline favorite Dejounte Murray. Bogdan Bogdanovic can get as hot as anyone. And we previously mentioned Jalen Johnson and Clint Capela; they will get all the boards.

So the Lakers really have to take this seriously. While the Hawks are comfortably ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for the 10th spot, they’re also a 30-37 team and very shorthanded. Still, we know the Hawks are going to come out desperate and fighting. The Lakers need to match that mindset.

That means taking care of business in all four quarters. One of the huge weaknesses the Lakers have as of late has been getting thoroughly outplayed in one quarter and then having to play catch-up the rest of the way. We know what the Lakers are capable of but that capability won’t be shown unless they put in the energy to do it. They simply didn’t do that against the Hawks at the end of January.

The finish to the regular season is approaching fast. Lakers have to take care of business at home as they have a 6-game road trip after this home stand. If they want to be taken seriously then they should defeat teams under .500 like the Hawks.