Tangible Signs of Improvement Are Everywhere for LA Lakers

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant led the Los Angeles Lakers with 27 points and 12 rebounds in a February 4, 2016, road win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

It was nine months before the Lakers won another road game.

On Wednesday night in Atlanta, L.A. ended its 16-game losing streak on the road, upsetting the previously undefeated Hawks (3-1), 123-116.

The Lakers (2-3), playing on the second night of a back-to-back after losing to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, had fallen behind the Hawks by 12 points early in the third period. A 72-point second-half barrage helped gut out a badly needed road victory.

"We got tired of losing," second-year guard D'Angelo Russell said after the game on the Spectrum SportsNet broadcast. "We fought the previous games. We fought but just didn't finish."

The road monkey's off their backs just in time, because the next big test for these young Lakers is at home.

They draw the Golden State Warriors (4-1), the best team in the Western Conference over the last two years, Friday night at Staples Center. After losing on opening night to the San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors have reeled off four straight victories, including a 122-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.

All-Star forward Kevin Durant poured in 39 points during just 31 minutes against his former franchise, hitting seven three-pointers in a rout.

A Lakers win over the mighty Warriors would be a significant accomplishment, especially for a young team trying to establish itself as a competitor in the West.

The win in Atlanta was an important sign that the group is stepping forward: The Lakers were the first NBA franchise to play four games away from home this season. And in addition to Atlanta, the team had opportunities to win late during each of the previous three losses to the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers.


About the Author