The Atlanta Hawks host the Los Angeles Lakers at State Farm Arena tonight and one way or the other something has got to give. Following a shoot around at the team practice facility Friday morning Hawks forward John Collins (12.7 points, 7.7 rebounds per game) spoke about the game and upcoming road trip that begins after New Year’s Day.
“Winning makes everything feel better,” Collins said. “The night’s sleep, the meal after, whatever conversations you have, winning helps.”
The Hawks (17-18 overall) have lost two in a row and a victory at home to end the 2022 portion of the season could be the momentum boost they need before heading out west.
“We want to build momentum going into the new year especially going on this west coast trip,” said reserve forward Jalen Johnson (5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 15.9 minutes per game) “Getting this last W at home, we want to do that.”
Following tonight’s game Atlanta will begin the new year on a four-game west coast road swing that includes games at theGolden State Warriors (Jan. 2), the Sacramento Kings (Jan. 4), a rematch with the Lakers (Jan 6) and closes at the Los Angeles Clippers (Sunday, Jan. 8).
The Lakers (14-21) come into town following a 112-98 loss to the Miami Heat Wednesday. Lakers star Lebron James is averaging 27.8 points, 8 rebounds and just under 7 assists per game on nearly 50% shooting this season.
Both the Hawks and Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Friday night’s matchup with James and the Lakers will either extend a losing streak or put an end to one. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Center Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter are out of the lineup tonight. Capela with a right calf strain and Hunter with a left ankle sprain.