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Preview: Hawks host Lakers to begin four-game homestand

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks picked up a solid road win on Friday evening, outpacing the Washington Wizards by a 16-point margin. After two days off for practice and recovery, Lloyd Pierce’s team returns home for an intriguing tilt on Monday evening as the Los Angeles Lakers come to town.

The Hawks will be without De’Andre Hunter in this match-up, after the second-year forward suffered a knee issue during Friday’s victory. Early returns are at least reasonably positive with regard to his future-facing status, but Hunter will join Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kris Dunn in street clothes on Monday. Trae Young (left knee soreness) and Onyeka Okongwu (left Achilles soreness) are listed as probable against Los Angeles.

Monday’s game is the first of a four-game homestand for the Hawks and, while they should be well-rested, the task is significant against the reigning NBA champions. The Lakers lead the NBA in defensive rating, allowing fewer than 1.05 points per possession, and they land in the top three in both net rating and win-loss record.

There will be some intrigue with Monday’s injury report, as both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (quad) are listed as questionable. However, context is important in that James and Davis have frequently been listed as questionable on the injury report this season, and James has appeared in all 21 contests. He is playing the fewest minutes of his career (33.3 per game), but James should be expected to play until he doesn’t. Davis did miss a game against the Detroit Pistons last week, however, and his status is worth monitoring.

In the absence of Hunter, Pierce revealed on Sunday that Cam Reddish will be the primary defender on James. John Collins would be in line for deployment as a defender on Davis, and the Lakers are a rare team that can match Atlanta’s size, even when Collins and Clint Capela are deployed together. Still, Atlanta has enjoyed success with that two-man pairing on the floor, and it will be interesting to see how the Hawks fare in a game that could be a measuring stick moving forward.

The wise folks in Las Vegas install the Lakers as six-point road favorites — at least at the time of this post — for Monday’s game. That number almost certainly assumes both James and Davis take the floor for Los Angeles, but it also underscores the difficult task for Atlanta, and the Hawks must play well to keep pace with one of the best teams in the league.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Monday, Feb. 1, 7:30 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)