Kobe finally played like he was confident on Saturday in a close win against the Bobcats. He was hitting vintage Kobe turnarounds and kept the Lakers in the game. Kobe posted his first positive +/- point differential of the season on Saturday with a +5. He is still having turnover issues, but his game seems to be heading in the right direction. Last season, Kobe averaged 32.5 PPG agains the Hawks.
Last time the Lakers played Atlanta, we let Kyle Korver absolutely go off from beyond the arc. He was 6-6 from 3-point range with 22 points. Paul Millsap and Al Horford also gave the Lakers problems in the paint. Each player posted over 12 points and Horford had 16 rebounds. (This was even when Chris Kaman was allowed to play.) The Lakers won that game 105-103.
Tonight, the Lakers have to improve their defense against the Hawks in order to have a chance. The Hawks are athletic inside and out and the Lakers, particularly the athletics ones (I’m talking to you, Wes Johnson), have to be on top of their game tonight. Without Steve Blake, the defense at the PG spot is going to be a problem, with Jeff Teague and the insanely athletic rookie, Dennis Schroder, set to log most of the minutes there for the Hawks.
X-FACTOR OF THE NIGHT
Jordan Hill. He is going to be he only one, sorry Pau, the can frustrate Paul Millsap and Al Horford in the paint. He can create problems for them inside defensively as well. If Jordan Hill plays well on both ends, the Lakers could have a chance to get easy offensive putbacks and get easy baskets after defensive rebounds.
NUMBER OF THE NIGHT
.25. Yes, 25%, as in the Lakers winning percentage since Kobe’s return. Part of it has to do with Kobe’s turnovers, but the entire team still has to log some minutes together and adjust to Kobe’s playing style. The Lakers have already beat the Hawks once this season, so they have a chance to bring that percentage up to 40%.
The Lakers will begin a win streak tonight. They will improve to 12-12 on the season after a 111-107 offensive shootout with the Hawks. Jordan Hill will post over 4 offensive board and Kobe’s turnover number will be 5 or below. Lets go Lake Show!