Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks Preview (12/30/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

The Los Angeles Lakers (14-21) hope to end their recent 1-6 stretch by prevailing over the Atlanta Hawks (17-18) Friday night. Anthony Davis remains out indefinitely for the Lakers, and they may also be without Lonnie Walker IV, who is questionable. Trae Young returns for Atlanta, but Clint Capela is out and De’Andre Hunter is questionable.

Which underachieving squad will secure a much-needed win? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks Betting Odds

Atlanta is a decent favorite with the spread at -6 Hawks and their moneyline at an ugly -240. Meanwhile, Los Angeles’ moneyline can be found at +210, which means they must win 33% of the time to be profitable long-term. The over under is at a massive 243 points – easily the largest total of the day. Given that the Lakers and Hawks rank 1st and 6th respectively in Over% this season, the enormous line makes sense.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks Prediction

I’m backing the Hawks to cover -6.5 here.

Los Angeles (19th Offensive Rating, 22nd Defensive Rating) and Atlanta (20th Offensive Rating, 12th Defensive Rating) have both been mediocre this season. However, the Lakers without Davis plummet to downright terrible, and their weaknesses overlap with the Hawks’ strengths.

Los Angeles allows the 3rd most midrange FGA, and opponents have the highest FG% against them on these attempts. Enter the Hawks, who are 2nd in midrange FGA and 6th in midrange FG%. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray are assassins at these shots, so the Hawks should score plenty of points in this area of the court. The Lakers must also deal with an Okongwu lob threat, and the Hawks can surround this with shooters like Bogdanovic, Hunter, Griffin, and Holiday. Therefore, Atlanta’s ghastly half-court offense may see drastic improvement against an undersized Lakers squad that can’t protect the rim without Davis.

To make matters worse, Atlanta’s dangerous transition offense (2nd) faces a miserable Lakers transition defense (28th). The Hawks will attempt to up the pace as much as possible to rack up points and potentially tire out the 38-year-old LeBron James.

On defense, the Hawks are surprisingly sturdy and pose a threat to the Lakers. Atlanta ranks 2nd in spot up defense, which only worsens the fact that Los Angeles ranks 26th in 3PT% and dead last in ShotQuality’s Spacing metric. They task LeBron to create magic out of nothing far too often, and it’s a gloomy proposition against an Atlanta defense that fields Dejounte Murray and ranks 7th in pick and roll ball handler defense. The Lakers can exploit Atlanta’s transition defense, but it won’t be enough to compensate for their plethora of deficiencies here. They also don’t have a backcourt scorer to constantly target Trae Young, so Atlanta won’t feel that disadvantage as much as they usually do.

Overall, it’s difficult to find any semblance of hope for this poorly constructed Lakers roster. Atlanta certainly has their glaring flaws, but their strengths match Los Angeles’ weaknesses – usually a great indicator that a cover is incoming. The Lakers are also 6-13 on the road with a -5.8 Net Rating, while the Hawks are 11-7 at home with a 1.1 Net Rating.

Betting Trends

  • Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall
  • Over is 7-1 in Lakers last 8 road games
  • Hawks are 8-22 ATS in their last 30 games following a ATS win
  • Over is 7-3 in Hawks last 10 overall

Key Matchups

Which team will win the key matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Atlanta’s Defense vs. LeBron James

If the Hawks limit James to below 30 points and force him to work for every shot, then the Lakers have essentially no chance of covering. The roster is devoid of shot creation, shooting, and interior defense sans Davis. If LeBron doesn’t dominate every game, then the Lakers have a realistic chance of scoring below 100 points that night. Their defense isn’t stingy enough to compensate either. Therefore, Atlanta will focus on doubling LeBron and not allowing him to dictate the offense for Los Angeles.

Pace

The Lakers rank 3rd in pace, but they need to slow it down against a Hawks squad (7th) that is used to a run and gun style. It would limit the damage Atlanta can do against Los Angeles’ horrid transition defense, and it would allow LeBron to rest more during the game. If they can turn this into an ugly half-court grind, then they would stand a much better chance of covering.

Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup

PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Lonnie Walker IV
PF: LeBron James
C: Thomas Bryant

Atlanta Hawks Starting Lineup

PG: Trae Young
SG: Dejounte Murray
SF: De’Andre Hunter
PF: John Collins
C: Onyeka Okongwu

Key Injuries

Los Angeles Lakers Injuries: Anthony Davis (O), Lonnie Walker IV (Q), Austin Reaves (P), Dennis Schroder (P)

Atlanta Hawks Injuries: Trae Young (P), Clint Capela (O), De’Andre Hunter (Q)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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