The Lakers (11-12) visit the Atlanta Hawks (12-12) on Monday night, their third stop on a four-game road trip.
When they met on Nov. 3, Pau Gasol hit a pair of free throws with six seconds left, followed by a crucial block of a Kyle Korver attempt, to give the Lakers a 105-103 victory.
Outside of the Indiana Pacers (20-3) and Miami Heat (17-6), the Hawks are the only team in the Eastern Conference at .500.
The Lakers are coming off their first win since Kobe Bryant returned from Achilles surgery. Bryant will continue to start at point guard while the Lakers wait for Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) to return from their injuries.
Korver was a problem for the Lakers in November, scoring 22 points on just 10 shot attempts (including a perfect 6-6 from beyond the arc).
At the time, the Lakers started Blake at shooting guard next to Steve Nash.
Now the Lakers have Bryant back, either point guard Jeff Teague, small forward DeMarre Carroll or Korver will be tasked with guarding the Lakers' all-star.
Bryant is coming of his best game since his return, scoring 21 points with eight assists and seven rebounds against the Charlotte Bobcats. Where he needs to improve most is turnovers -- he had seven in Charlotte.
Al Horford and Paul Millsap aren't the tallest front-court pair in the league, but they're powerful.
Horford is averaging 17.7 points with 8.3 rebounds a game. Millsap is right behind him at 16.5 points and 8.0 boards.
If the Lakers can slow the Hawks' two top scorers, they'll have a chance to steal one on the road.
Gasol and Jordan Hill are probable starters. The Lakers are taller and longer but Gasol is slowed, playing through a sprained ankle, and hasn't been himself for the last handful of games.
The Lakers made a statement closing out the Bobcats on Saturday -- winning the game by playing defense in the final minutes.
Will that carry forward or did the Lakers just take out a team that has struggled all year to score in the fourth quarter?
The Hawks have been up and down all season, but so have the Lakers.
A win in Atlanta would return the Lakers to .500 and give them a chance at a winning road trip, but it's going to take a major team effort to do so.
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