The Atlanta Hawks open a stretch of six of their next seven games at home with a matchup Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. Atlanta will be trying to put Saturday's blowout loss out in Cleveland behind them. The Hawks were embarrassed as the Cavaliers jumped out to a huge lead to start the game. Cleveland knocked down a record nine straight three-pointers in the first quarter and made 11 straight in the first half. Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer was quick to credit Cleveland but also pointed out that he didn't think Atlanta's defensive effort was up to par.
"They played great and we played poorly, all up and down," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They shot extremely well. I don't think our defense is where it needs to be but I think they deserve a ton of credit for how they played. Some nights like that happen in the NBA."
The loss on Saturday snapped a four-game winning streak for the Hawks who have been a different team at home. Atlanta is 4-0 at Philips Arena this season which is their best start at home since 2010 when they went 7-0. The Hawks are averaging 104.8 points per game at home and shooting over 49 percent from the field.
However, as they found out on Saturday, improvement must come on the defensive end of the court. Despite the winning streak, Atlanta has been trending in the wrong direction defensively and Saturday's blowout loss was the culmination of a great shooting night by the Cavs combined with a less than stellar defensive mindset from the Hawks. Showing a consistent effort defensively on Tuesday would go a long way in getting things headed back in the right direction.
The Lakers enter play on Tuesday dead last in the Western Conference with a 1-9 record and with frustration building. They have been putrid on the defensive end of the floor allowing a league worst 112.1 points per game. They have lost four straight including Sunday's 136-115 blowout at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
While the Lakers search for answers, Kobe Bryant has taken it upon himself to try and keep Los Angeles in games. Bryant scored 44 points in the loss to the Warriors and is averaging 27.3 per game but is shooting just 38 percent from the field. He's attempting more than 24 shots per game which is more than double his next closest teammate.
Slowing Bryant will be a priority for the Hawks but they may once again be without their best wing defender. DeMarre Carroll has missed the last three games with a groin injury and is listed as questionable for Tuesday's game. While the thinking was originally that Carroll would be back on Tuesday, the Hawks may opt to hold him out if he has any lingering issues with the groin. Atlanta won't play again until Friday and that would provide Carroll with more recovery time.
Nick Young could make his season debut for the Lakers on Tuesday after missing the first part of the season with a torn ligament in his thumb. Young returned to practice last week and could be in uniform against the Hawks. Los Angles won't have Ryan Kelly available after it was announced on Monday that he would miss the next six weeks with a torn hamstring.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, November 18, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM