LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers welcome the red hot Atlanta Hawks to the Staples Center for a Saturday Matinee. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- The Hawks and Lakers meet for the second time this season on Saturday, March 20th
- Atlanta has been red hot under new coach Nate McMillan, going 7-0 since his arrival, while LA has also won four straight
- Get our odds, preview, and best bet below for this contest
The Atlanta Hawks begin an eight-game road trip on Saturday, March 20th when they take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, tip-off 3:30pm ET.
ATL is coming off a big 116-93 win over the OKC Thunder two nights ago, with Trae Young dropping a team-high 23 points. LA, on the other hand, welcomed LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets to the Staples Center on Thursday, beating them 116-105.
The Lakeshow beat the Hawks last month and have won three consecutive meetings against them.
Hawks vs Lakers Odds
|Atlanta Hawks||+4.5 (-114)||+156||Ov 224 (-110)|
|LA Lakers||-4.5 (-106)||-186||Un 224 (-110)|
Odds taken March 19 at FanDuel
Atlanta is Coming Alive
The Hawks are absolutely rolling right now since firing head coach Lloyd Pierce. Former Indiana Pacers boss Nate McMillan has taken over and led this team to a 7-0 record since his arrival, including wins over the Raptors, Heat, and most recently, OKC. They’re not even at full strength either, with two important role players in Cam Reddish and De’Andre hunter both currently out with respective injuries.
Headed out west 😎#TrueToAtlanta pic.twitter.com/k4q87OOhev
— Atlanta HaWWWWWWWks (@ATLHawks) March 19, 2021
After an extremely busy offseason, it was expected that Atlanta would contend for a playoff spot in the East. They’ve completely turned around the ship, now boasting a 21-20 record, good for fifth in the conference.
Thursday night was a statement win for the Hawks. Bojan Bogdanovic had a big night as well alongside Young, collecting 23 points. They were a handful on the glass, collecting 50 rebounds to just 38 for the Thunder. ATL was also thriving inside, scoring 52 of their 116 points in the paint.
During their impressive unbeaten run, the Hawks are allowing just 100 points per game, compared to an average of 110 this season. Their opponents haven’t been the toughest lately though, so Friday’s meeting with the Lakers is going to be a real test for Atlanta, especially for their defense.
The Hawks’ West Coast swing could really prove a lot in general, with games ahead against the Clippers, Suns, and Nuggets as well.
LA Adjusting Without AD
How would the Lakers do without Anthony Davis? It’s a glaring question that everyone around the NBA wondered, but it looks like the King and LA have adjusted just fine. Frank Vogel’s team is currently on a four-game winning streak, thanks to the MVP form of James.
He was the sole reason the Lakers were able to take down the surging Hornets on Thursday, erupting for 37 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Right-hand man Dennis Schroder also did his part, compiling 22 for Los Angeles.
The defending champions have already made it crystal clear that Davis will be taking his time recovering from a calf injury. With that in mind, numerous players on the roster have stepped up heavily. Montrezl Harrell has added a spark off the bench, while other role players like Talen Horton-Tucker and Kyle Kuzma have also offered production on both sides of the ball.
LA’s defense has been especially good, allowing just 105.7 points per contest since the All-Star break. LeBron is setting the tempo by getting his teammates involved and allowing everyone to get their touches offensively.
The King put on quite a show last night. 👑 pic.twitter.com/Sduw3Z0GRv
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 20, 2021
Marc Gasol’s production has been subpar for the Lakeshow, which means they could also make an impact move at the trade deadline. LA has been linked to Cavs big man Andre Drummond, who would certainly make Vogel’s squad even more unstoppable around the rim.
There’s absolutely nothing you can take away from the Hawks right now because they really are playing terrific basketball. But Saturday’s opponents are a different beast. The Lakers are also 14-8 at Staples Center this year and starting to find their identity without AD.
Atlanta isn’t great ATS this season, going just 21-19-1 overall and 10-9 as underdogs. This road trip is going to be a tough one and I think this contest will be a wake-up call after their lengthy win streak.
I like LA here to cover the spread comfortably, with James enjoying yet another banner night.
Pick: LA Lakers -4.5 (-106)
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.