The Los Angeles Lakers have returned home from their road trip and will face the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on February 14. You know there is something special brewing in the air as the Lakers return home to their beloved arena on Valentine's Day - it's almost too perfect. The Lakers missed their home dearly as they went 3-3 on their six-game road trip and improved to 5-10 overall away from Staples Center. However, when they play at home, they are 11-2 - making them one of the best home teams in the league.
I know the Lakers can beat the Hawks by playing their brand of basketball - something that has been difficult for the Lakers to do on the road, but at home it seems to come so naturally. Their rebounding and shooting should be better against the Hawks, who are beginning a five-game road trip of their own. That means the Lakers are going to need to knuckle down as the Hawks will surely want to get off to a positive start on their trip.
However, no matter how good the Lakers have been at home, the story of the season so far has been their record on the road. If their record on the road were 10-5 and not 5-10 they would be 21-7 and in second place, just half a game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for first place in the Western Conference. Instead, they sit back in fifth place and do so as a team that has some issues to address. I know the Lakers will welcome the sight of Staples Center in Los Angeles when they tip-off against the Hawks.
The Lakers bench may have to get involved, so that means they will have to be productive against the Hawks. I have to believe the Lakers will regain their shooting touch and earn a win in their first game at home since January 31.
Prediction: Lakers 100 - Hawks 93