Sat, Mar 20, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Atlanta Hawks (21-20, 5th in Eastern Conference) visit the Los Angeles Lakers (28-13, 2nd in Western Conference) on Saturday, March 20, at 3:30 PM ET.
Atlanta is 8-2 in its last 10 games played and has won seven in a row to climb above the .500 mark and inch up the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks are so hot right now that they have pulled to within a half-game of the first-place Miami Heat in the Southeast Division standings.
The Lakers are on a hot streak of their own, winning their last four games. Los Angeles is in first place in the Pacific Division, leading the Phoenix Suns by a half-game. The Lakers are just two games out of first in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz.
The Staples Center will be the host of this afternoon’s contest, where the Lakers are a strong 14-8 on the year. These teams meet for just the second time this season. Los Angeles won the first meeting 107-99 back on February 1. Anthony Davis scored 25 points in the victory.
LeBron James enters tonight’s game averaging 25.8 points per game, while Trae Young of the Hawks is averaging 25.9 points per game.
The injury list is long for tonight’s contest and includes the following:
Jared Dudley (LAL): out (knee)
Marc Gasol (LAL): out (health and safety protocols)
Anthony Davis (LAL): out (achilles)
Kostas Antetokounmpo (LAL): out (health and safety protocols)
De'Andre Hunter (ATL): out (right knee)
Kris Dunn (ATL): out (ankle)
Cameron Reddish (ATL): out (achilles)
The Lakers are just 6-4 in their last 10 games but have won their previous four, helping them remain in the two-seed for now in the Western Conference standings.
In their most recent game, the Lakers took down the Charlotte Hornets 116-105. James led the Lakers with 37 points, eight boards, and six assists. The win propelled the Lakers back into the two-seed in the Western Conference after relinquishing it for a couple of days.
The latest win for the Hawks came against the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-93. Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic each scored 23 for the Hawks. The win helped Atlanta keep pace in the division and the Eastern Conference standings.
Tonight will be a big test for the Hawks, especially on the road, where they are just 10-11 this season. Right now, the line is -4.0 in favor of the Lakers. You can’t rule out the Hawks in this one, especially with Davis missing the game for the Lakers. If Los Angeles wants to come away with its fifth straight victory, James will need to dominate from start to finish.
If Young and Bogdanovic can team up for another strong effort, the Hawks could come away with an upset win on the road against one of the best teams in the league. An eighth straight win for Atlanta would surely enter them into the conversation as a threat in the Eastern Conference.
With all of that said, it’s best to take the Lakers at home with the -4.0 on Saturday afternoon.