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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers: December 16 Preview vs. Atlanta Hawks

Richard Maxson – USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers will head into Atlanta for game three of their four-game road trip coming off a hard-fought 88-85 victory versus the Charlotte Bobcats. This was the Lakers’ first victory since superstar Kobe Bryant‘s return from his Achilles injury, and it will help motivate them for Monday’s tough game against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Lakers will once again be without all three of their rostered point guards in Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar as they recover from various injuries, and Bryant is likely to fill in and start at the point. The Hawks happen to be in quite the opposite situation at this point so far this season as they are currently quite healthy.

It’s going to to take another extraordinary effort on Bryant’s part for the Lakers to pull out a win, as he finally showed glimpses of his pre-injury form in the Lakers’ last game versus the Bobcats. Bryant went 8-of-15 from the field for 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and was clearly the player of the game for the Lakers as his performance pushed them to victory.

He will also need to get Pau Gasol involved as the Spaniard has been feuding with head coach Mike D’Antoni. Gasol is known to disappear amidst his temper tantrums when he is unhappy with the situation around him. If he does not perform well in this game, the monster frontcourt of Paul Millsap and Al Horford will rip him apart.

The Hawks will once again rely on their big three in Jeff Teague, Horford and Millsap to notch another win. With a win, the Lakers would be back to 12-12, while a Hawks victory would put them over .500 at 13-12.

Be sure to follow Ian Meredith on Twitter @Cui2iousGeoi2ge