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Reply To: NBA • Friday Service Plays • 12/4/15

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Preview: L.A. Lakers At Atlanta

When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, December 4, 2015

Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

The Kobe Bryant retirement tour is about to make its fourth stop, and the fading superstar has had mixed results in the first three. Bryant will try to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

Bryant, who announced his retirement effective at the end of the season on Sunday, came up short in the final seconds at Indiana and struggled to 4-of-17 from 3-point range in his homecoming at Philadelphia before burying the go-ahead shot in the final minute of a 108-104 win at Washington. “It was like a movie, him taking it over toward the end, knocking those shots down,” Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson told reporters. “It was crazy. The atmosphere was crazy. The energy was crazy.” Bryant could have another supportive crowd in Atlanta, where the home fans just watched their team squander a 17-point, third-quarter lead. “39-20 fourth quarter. Bad offense. Bad defense,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)

ABOUT THE LAKERS (3-15): Bryant finished with 31 points against the Wizards and knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer with 58 seconds left before putting Los Angeles up for good with a jumper on the next possession. “When I have my legs, I can go for that shot,” Bryant told reporters. “And I feel very comfortable in that shot and stopping and pulling up.” The 37-year-old played at least 32 minutes in each of a stretch of four games in five nights and went 13-of-40 from 3-point range in that span.

ABOUT THE HAWKS (12-9): Atlanta traded off wins and losses in each of its last eight games, scoring over 100 points in each of the wins and failing to hit the mark in the four losses. “We have to start putting together full games and then try to put multiple games together,” Hawks guard Kyle Korver told reporters. “We’ve been so up-and-down this year. We had the one winning streak but other than that we’ve just been game to game.” Atlanta earned a 106-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday before scoring a season low against the Raptors.


1. Lakers F Julius Randle has recorded three straight double-doubles.

2. Hawks C Al Horford scored in double figures in each of the first 21 games.

3. Bryant is averaging 22.6 points on 46.2 percent shooting in 28 career games against Atlanta.

PREDICTION: Hawks 109, Lakers 89