At 31-21, the Hawks have a relatively firm grasp on the No. 4 position in the Eastern Conference (even with newly improved Miami lurking in the five spot), but they’ll be tested firmly out of the break as they play eight of their next 10 games on the road.
The team from “The A” (Josh Powell asked that we refer to his city by that moniker) is led by All-Star Joe Johnson, who ranks 11th in the NBA in scoring at 21.6 per night, plus his team-leading 6.1 assists (18th). Atlanta is chalk full of athletes (see: Josh Smith, Marvin Williams and Al Horford) who love to get up and down the floor in hopes of creating easy baskets, often sparked by their high level of defensive pressure in denying the pass and gambling for steals.
We enlisted Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw to explain how best to deal with the Hawks; you can watch the interview by clicking above.