Kobe and Lakers search for second straight win in Atlanta
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | December 4, 2015
Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour continues in Atlanta on Friday night, when the Los Angeles Lakers face the Hawks as heavy 11.5-point underdogs in NBA betting with Coral.
LA are coming off just their third win of the season, a 108-104 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, powered by a season-high 31 points by Kobe, including 12 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
This victory ended their seven-game SU losing streak, that included a 103-91 in Philadelphia on Tuesday, which handed the 76ers their first win of their campaign.
The Lakers covered as 10-point underdogs against Washington, earning their second ATS win in three contests, and second straight as double-digit underdogs, with their 108 points marking their highest offensive output since the first week of the season.
Bryant’s announcement last weekend of his retirement at the end of the NBA season appears to have reignited his game.
After kicking off the season with 24 points in a 112-111 opening night loss to Minnesota, Kobe struggled to find the basket, averaging just 14.9 ppg in the month of November shooting a dismal 29.3 per cent from the field.
Since his announcement, the 37 year-old has averaged 25.5 points per game on 34 per cent shooting, including four three-pointers per game.
Hawks struggle with inconsistency
The Lakers meet an Atlanta squad that has struggled with consistently of late, alternating between wins and losses over their past nine, going 4-7 SU in their last 11.
Atlanta Hawks are coming off a shaky performance in a 96-86 loss to Toronto on Wednesday night, losing outright as 4-point favourites to drop to 4-9 ATS in their past 13.
The Hawks’ inconsistency extends to recent meetings with the Lakers. They are 3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS, in their last five against LA, and just 2-2 SU and ATS in their last four home dates with LA.
Following Friday night’s contest, the Lakers continue their current eight-game road swing with stops in Detroit and Toronto on Sunday and Monday, respectively, before heading west for a return date with the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Atlanta, meanwhile, enjoy a four-day rest following Friday’s matchup, returning to action in Dallas next Wednesday.
Suns road favourites in Washington
The Wizards, meanwhile, will look to reverse their current 1-5 SU slide when they host the Phoenix Suns on Friday as 1.5-point underdogs.
Washington has lost three straight at home, and four of their past 12 overall, dropping them to 12th place in the Eastern Conference, 2.5 games back of the eighth-place Hawks.
The Suns have also struggled badly, winning just one of their last seven, both SU and ATS, and 1-4 SU in their last five road dates, but are a perfect 3-0 in their last three meetings with Washington.
Phoenix wraps up their current road trip with dates in Memphis and Chicago on Sunday and Monday, while the Wizards host the Mavericks on Sunday before travelling to Miami to battle the Heat on Monday.
In other NBA betting action, the Mavericks entertain the Houston Rockets on Friday as 5.5-point favourites, and the Pistons take on the Milwaukee Bucks favoured by 6.5, while Cleveland Cavaliers meet the fading New Orleans Pelicans as 5.5-point favourites.