Notebook: Hawks 96, Lakers 92

Posted Mar 14, 2013 12:24 AM

Jon Cooper, for

THE FACTS: The Los Angeles Lakers lost a basketball game they probably shouldn't have, coming up short to the Atlanta Hawks 96-92 Wednesday night at Philips Arena. They unquestionably lost a lot more in Kobe Bryant, as he's going to be out indefinitely with a severely sprained left ankle.

Bryant, who had a game-high 31 points, injured the ankle with 3.9 seconds remaining in the game, when he landed on the foot of Atlanta forward Dahntay Jones after putting up a potential game-tying 18-footer. The ball bounced out and Bryant stayed down, on the court, in the corner.

Devin Harris scored 17, to lead six double-digit Hawks scorers, and Al Horford added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Bryant brought the Lakers back from a 12-point halftime deficit, by scoring 20 points with an electrifying third quarter.

The Hawks, playing without starting point guard Jeff Teague, who hurt his ankle Tuesday night in Miami, and starting forward Josh Smith, who injured a knee against the Heat, led 55-43 at the half, shooting 52.3 percent. But then, behind Bryant, the Lakers rallied and took the lead, much to the delight of a large contingent of Lakers fans.

They led by four with 10 minutes remaining, but were doomed by a cold-shooting fourth quarter and Harrios, who scored nine points. Bryant hit a desperation three with 16.9 seconds left to cut the lead to one, but Atlanta's Kyle Korver made three of four free throws then Bryant missed the jumper from the corner.

Atlanta ended the night where it began, tied with Boston for sixth place in the East (the Celtics own the tiebreaker), but they also gained a game on eighth-place Milwuakee, which lost in Washington, and now leads the Bucks by 2 1/2 games.

The Lakers remain in eighth place in the West, a half-game ahead of Utah, which lost in Oklahoma City, but will now have to regroup without Bryant.

QUOTABLE: "I would have liked to have seen more intensity. In think in the first half everybody had at least one 'Where's my man?' moment on defense."
-- Los Angeles Coach Mike D'Antoni

THE STAT: 6-25: The Lakers might have overcome their first-half defensive lapses had they shot better in the fourth quarter. L.A. made only 6-of-25 shots in the final quarter, missing seven consecutive shots on two different occasions.

TURNING POINT: L.A. might have even survived their two seven-straight-missed-shots streaks had they grabbed one more defensive rebound. With 36.9 seconds left and Atlanta leading 90-87, Hawks forward Al Horford missed a turnaround jumper. But he followed his shot, and batted it to teammate Ivan Johnson, who hit a reverse layup, avoiding Lakers center Dwight Howard. Take away that bucket and Bryant's three with 18.2 left ties the game.

QUOTABLE II: "It was pick-and-rolls. We were getting good lucks off pick-and-rolls all night long. We saw the match ups we could take advantage of and we were able to get into a rhythm."
-- Hawks guard Harris, who shot 4-for-7 in the final quarter.

HOT: Harris scored nine straight Atlanta points, beginning at 8:05, with the team down one. After a layup and one of two free throws, Harris, starting in place of injured Jeff Teague, hit his last three shots -- two 20-foot jumpers sandwiching a layup -- in a span of 53 seconds, His outburst gave the Hawks a five-point lead.

HOT II: There's a reason they play two halves, and in the third quarter Bryant showed why. He scored 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting, scoring 16 of L.A.'s 18 points during a six-minute stretch, bringing the Lakers back to within two.

NOT: Bryant showed that he's human in the first half, finishing with three points on 1-for-8 shooting (0-for-2 from three), The Lakers' leading scorer (third in the League) and its sixth-best shooter got his first basket with 2:58 left in the half. He went 0-for-6, 0-for-2 from three, in the first quarter, although he also handed out all four Lakers' assists in the stanza, leading to nine points.

ROOKIE WATCH: Hawks guard John Jenkins played 19:57 seconds, scoring 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting, 3-for-6 from three. He added four rebounds and two assists, hit a big three in the fourth, ran the attack in the final quarter and even took his turn guarding Kobe Bryant.

GOOD MOVE: With Bryant off to a slow start, the Lakers came out in the third quarter and, prior to Bryant's explosion, used the pick-and-roll to perfection against the zone. It allowed Steve Nash and Howard to work the pick-and-roll to perfection, leading to layups and a pair of identical dunks on consecutive possessions.

BAD MOVE: Trying to push the tempo, Atlanta guard Harris (6-3, 192) challenged Howard (6-11, 265). Howard stood his ground from the left side about 15 feet out. Predictable result ensued. Harris crashed to the floor, and the ball fell short of the rim, where the Lakers turned it into a fast-break basket.

BAD MOVE: Metta World Peace onl Horford. Horford had his way with the smaller forward, shooting 7-for-12, including an emphatic dunk on the first one-on-one matchup.

LINE OF THE NIGHT: Bryant's third quarter: 8-for-16, 0-for-1 from three, 4-for-4 from the line, 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 steal.

NOTABLE: Lakers forward Earl Clark left the game in the third quarter, with a sprained right ankle. X-Rays were negative...Rapper 2 Chainz was among the celebrities in the crowd...Two different Hawks were teed up, as Horford got one at 2:47 of the third quarter after getting tied up with Howard, and his coach, Larry Drew, got one at 10:30 of the fourth, following what he thought was a Dwight Howard foul on an Johnson drive...Atlanta's bench outscored L.A.'s 46-16...Howard had his 36th double-double of the season with 10 points and 16 rebounds...Hawks center Johan Petro had his first double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) since March 10, 2010, with Denver against Houston.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday at Indiana, Sunday vs. Sacramento, Monday at Phoenix. For the Hawks, Friday vs. Phoenix, Sunday at Brooklyn, Monday vs. Dallas.