Atlanta 94, L.A. Lakers 93
ATLANTA, March 2 (Ticker) --
Missing Kobe Bryant
, the Los Angeles
Lakers missed a handful of game-winning shots.
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and Shaquille O'Neal
missed easy potential
game-winners in the waning seconds as the Lakers suffered a
surprising 94-93 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Just hitting his stride of late, Bryant spent Monday and Tuesday
at a pretrial hearing in Colorado. His last five games featured three contests of at
least 35 points and a triple-double.
With Bryant in the lineup, the Lakers had rolled to wins in the
first two games of their four-game road trip. Without him, they
clearly were missing a spark -- and his flair for late-game
"Since the All-Star break, he's been pushing us," Payton said.
"If he would have been here, he would have given us some
There were six lead changes and a tie in the last three minutes.
pulled Atlanta into a 93-93 tie with a jumper off a
curl with 54 seconds to go, then made 1-of-2 free throws after
a similar play with 11 seconds left.
Payton, who had his 15th career triple-double, dribbled into the
lane but missed an open 10-footer. O'Neal, who collected 23
points and 14 rebounds, missed a pair of follow shots in a scrum
beneath the basket before time expired.
"I got the shot, I just missed it," Payton said. "Shaq gets the
ball and it goes off his hand. It just wasn't our night."
"Gary had a good look at the end, and I thought Shaq was going
to follow it up, even if he didn't make the shot," Lakers coach
Phil Jackson said. "But it didn't happen for us."
The Hawks had a different viewpoint.
"I think he surprised himself and I don't think he expected to
be that open," said Hawks guard Bob Sura, who scored 15 points.
"He kind of wasn't ready to shoot, and he left it a bit short.
We had a bunch of guys down there battling, knocking the ball
around, and the time ran out. It was a good stop for us."
"Go back and look at the tape. I nudged him a bit on his right
leg and he short-armed it," Terry said. "After that, it was
like a circus. Everybody touched the ball and fortunately, the
clock ran out."
Terry scored 23 points and Stephen Jackson
added 17 for the
Hawks, who were coming off a loss to league-worst Orlando but
have beaten a handful of upper-echelon teams this season.
Atlanta is just 20-40 but has swept Denver and notched wins over
Detroit, Dallas, Minnesota and San Antonio.
"It's the greatest feeling we had all season," said Terry, who
took off his jersey and threw it into the crowd after the final
buzzer. "This team has been through so much the last three,
four years. It was an incredible win for us."
Payton had 23 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for the Lakers,
who trounced the Hawks, 113-67, in Los Angeles on Jan. 9.
A beautiful lefthanded layup by Payton gave the Lakers an 87-86
lead with 2:38 left, and the teams went back and forth. Chris Crawford
scored for Atlanta before O'Neal nearly pulled down the
backboard with a follow dunk at the 1:59 mark.
Jackson drilled a 3-pointer, but Kareem Rush
sank one at the
other end, giving L.A. a 92-91 lead with 1:26 remaining. Rush
added a free throw 20 seconds later before Terry tied it.
The Hawks won, despite committing seven of their nine turnovers
in the fourth quarter. Rush scored 14 points for the Lakers,
who missed 9-of-22 free throws, including 7-of-10 in the final
"We missed too many free throws, including myself," Payton said.
"We just weren't focused enough at the end to win this game
and we didn't do what we are supposed to. We came down and
didn't execute plays right and kept them in the ballgame."