The Lakers get a quick chance for revenge against the Hawks tonight following their 98-95 loss in Atlanta less than two weeks ago. Despite controlling that game and leading by eight points entering the fourth quarter, L.A. wilted under a balanced Hawks attack and were outscored 30-19 in the final frame. Joe Johnson led Atlanta with 28 points to go along with four other Hawk players in double figures.
After defeating the Lakers , the Hawks lost four straight games heading into the All-Star break. While three of the four the losses did come against the Eastern Conference juggernaut Pistons and the upstart Cavs and Rockets, the Hawks will be looking to come out strong in the first game of the second half.
The Lakers will likely be seeing an entirely different Hawks team tonight after Atlanta just completed a trade for veteran Sacramento Kings guard Mike Bibby, a move that should solidify their place in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. The Hawks did not part with any of their core team members either, sending Anthony Johnson, 2007 first-round pick Shelden Williams, Tyronn Lue, Lorenzen Wright and a 2008 second-round selection to Sacramento.
Tonight’s matchup also marks the beginning of a five game swing out West for the Hawks, meanwhile Lakers’ newcomer Pau Gasol will be making his STAPLES Center debut.