Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
A pair of second place teams in their respective divisions will collide in Tinseltown Tuesday night when Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers (16-12, 12-16 ATS) square off against Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks (18-10, 14-13-1 ATS); Tip-off from the Staples Center tip is set to go live at 10:30 ET.
The Hawks will be in an ornery mood when they take to the hardwood Tuesday night after getting embarrassed in a crucial Southeast Division duel with the Miami Heat their last time out. Atlanta found itself behind the 8-ball right from the get go as the Heat bolted out to a 30-18 lead after one quarter of play, and took a 22-point lead with them into the break before coasting in the second half to pull out the 107-87 road win and cover as four-point chalk. The loss snapped the Hawks mini two-game winning streak, and in the process, dropped them three-games in back of the division leading Heat. Willie Greens 17 points off the bench paced the Hawks who only had one other player register double-digits in scoring. Atlantas struggled to score points of late averaging just 87.8 PPG their last six games; down 7.7 points from their regular season average (#14 at 95.5 PPG). That figure doesnt figure to improve against the leagues 4th ranked scoring defense (90.9 PPG). The Hawks have been decent away from Philips Arena to date amassing 9-5 SU & 8-5-1 ATS records.
The Lakers return home from a six-game road trip that saw them go 3-3 SU & 2-4 ATS to move to four-games over the breakeven point for the year. The trip would have been an even bigger disappointment had Kobe Bryant not come up with a clutch shot in the closing moments of Sundays matinee battle in Toronto with the Raptors. Still, snagging three wins away from the Staples Center was huge for Coach Mike Browns squad considering it had only won twice as a visitor going into the roady. They now return home to host the Hawks where they check in a much better 11-2 SU & 8-5 ATS for the season. Only the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers managed to defeat them in their own house, and those two defeats came by an average of just 1.5 points per game. LAs offense has been far from up to snuff this season, as its 92.7 PPG average checks in at #21; the team has also been wretched from beyond the arc where its converted on just 29.1 percent of its overall attempts (#30).
The home team has covered six of these non-conference rivals L/8 overall meetings. The host had also won each of the previous seven meetings SU until LA went into Hotlanta and scored the 101-87 road win and cover (-4.5) in the teams most recent confrontation last season. Atlantas 3-0-1 ATS its L/4 road tussles, but checks in 1-6 ATS its L/7 against Pacific Division opponents and has dropped four of its L/5 visits to the Staples Center. The favorite has covered five of the L/7 overall meetings, but Los Angeles stands just 2-8 ATS its L/10 against the Eastern Conference. The over is 5-2 the L/7 times these teams went at one another in LA.