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Lakers' show familiar to Meeks

ATLANTA -- It's a different color scheme, but it certainly feels familiar to Jodie Meeks.

In his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, the former Norcross standout sees plenty of purple and gold in whatever arena he visits.

"Everybody wants to see us play," Meeks said. "It kind of takes me back to college."

It should.

Like Kentucky blue blankets the Georgia Dome during the SEC tournament or any Wildcat game, the Lakers' gold filled many of the seats Wednesday at Philips Arena. And championship banners fly at Kentucky's Rupp Arena just like they do in L.A.'s Staples Center.

"It's crazy, win, lose or draw, we are on SportsCenter and everybody is talking about it," Meeks said. "It's fun to be a part of. I've never experienced anything like it. I am learning a lot. It's fun playing with all the guys."

The Lakers' pedigree and large fan support didn't matter Wednesday with the Atlanta Hawks taking a big lead and holding on for a 96-92 win.

Meeks picked up his third foul midway through the second quarter and played limited minutes, ending the game with just three points on 1 of 4 shooting. He did make a cameo with Laker teammate Chris Duhon on the kiss cam.

It's been a wild season for Meeks and the Lakers, who at the end of January were a very un-Laker-like six games under .500. But since then they are 14-5 and came to Atlanta winners of four in a row.

"It's going well. It's a lot better now. It took a little bit of time, but for me personally it's been fun," Meeks said. "It just took a while for the chemistry. On paper, everyone knows we have the talent. It took things a while to jell. With the way that we are playing right now is key because we are coming down the homestretch."

For his return home, Meeks had plenty of family and friends watching and even more requests for tickets came too late. With a sister, Kolby Meeks, still at Norcross, he keeps current on the goings-on and smiled talking about the athletic successes of his former school this year. He doesn't get to see any games during the season, but did watch a few during last year's NBA lockout.

"I got to see (my sister) play and Diamond DeShields, she's good," Meeks said. "She can play."

So can Meeks, who came into Wednesday averaging 8.1 points a game and playing about 20 minutes a night.

It's a far cry from his Kentucky days when he put together a few 40-point games and one 54-pointer. But since he entered the league in 2009, Meeks has learned a different side of basketball.

"It's pretty much been my role since I've been in the NBA," said Meeks, whose best NBA season came in 2010-11 with Philadelphia when he averaged 10.1 points a night. "Just coming in (off the bench) bringing a lot of energy and knocking down open shots. They are not going to go down all the time, I know that is going to happen. I just stay positive."

He's making a solid 40 percent of his shots, so many of the looks he gets do fall and with steady playing time, albeit off the bench, Meeks finds ways to contribute.

"I think at the beginning (it was tough), my rookie year, especially my rookie year because I didn't know if I was going to play or not, game to game," Meeks said. "You get used to it like anything else. It is challenging at times, but this league doesn't want any excuses."