The Lakers are on a roll since pasting the Hawks, 104-80, in their first game back after the All-Star Break. Los Angeles has rattled off seven straight wins since the break, including a 99-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
They expect a milestone day from Bryant, who is just 13 points away from passing NBA great Moses Malone for sixth place on the all-time scoring list with 27,410 points. Although, Kobe hasn't been absolutely spectacular at Philips Arena, his 18.7 points per game average there over his last three games should get him over that mark.
Meanwhile, the Hawks have been struggling of late. They've lost three straight, including an embarrassing 92-79 loss to a New York Knicks team on Sunday that was without Chauncey Billups and Ronny Turiaf. Carmelo Anthony also sat for part of it due to an eye injury.
Al Horford had just four points in the loss in a game where Knicks fans just made themselves at home at Philips Arena. They were boisterous and emphatic cheering on their team, even serenading Amare Stoudemire with "MVP!" chants in the fourth quarter.
Look for more of the same from those bandwagon Los Angeles Lakers fans, who love everything Kobe. Although, unlike New York, Los Angeles' bandwagon has been growing for a while. Kobe has been an elite player and the Lakers have been an elite team for a long time.
Nevertheless, the Hawks can ill afford to fall behind early to L.A. or the Highlight Factory is bound to turn into Staples Center East.