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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Atlanta Hawks 26 19 28 25 98
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 30 22 27 20 99
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Kobe, Lakers hold off Hawks to get back to .500

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Mar 04 2013 12:12AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and hit the go-ahead layup with 9 seconds left, leading the Los Angeles Lakers back to .500 for the first time in more than two months with a 99-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night.

Steve Blake stole Josh Smith's final pass in the waning seconds for the Lakers (30-30), who blew a 16-point lead in the second half before Bryant scored their last six points.

After Bryant scored the Lakers' final basket while driving directly at Smith, Blake swiped Smith's desperation pass from underneath Los Angeles' basket. Bryant threw the ball high in the air to run out the clock on Los Angeles' seventh straight home victory over the Hawks since 2006.

Al Horford scored 24 points and Smith had 19 for the Hawks.

Copyright 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited


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Points Bryant, 34
Rebounds Howard, 15
Assists Nash, 10
Steals Petro (ATL), 4
Blocks Smith (ATL), 3
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HAWKS-LAKERS PREVIEW

By MATT BEARDMORE

Posted Mar 02 2013 8:59PM

Another victory won't move the Los Angeles Lakers back into the Western Conference playoff picture, but it will lift them to .500.

The Lakers will try to get to the break-even point for the first time in more than two months on Sunday night when they go for a seventh straight home victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Acquiring Dwight Howard and two-time MVP Steve Nash in the offseason brought championship expectations, but this Lakers team has grossly underachieved.

Los Angeles (29-30), though, is enjoying its best stretch of the season with 12 wins in 17 games. The Lakers are just 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Houston and eyeing a .500 record for the first time since they were 15-15 on Dec. 28.

"We've had enough time together where we've turned a corner and we're making improvement instead of continually taking steps back," said Nash, who had 10 points and seven assists in Thursday's 116-94 home win over Minnesota.

"I think that improvement has been a long time coming, but it's only the beginning. We really need to continue to improve."

Even in his 17th season, 34-year-old Kobe Bryant has still found a way to improve his game, shooting a career-best 47.2 percent. He's hit 59.6 of his field-goal attempts in the last four contests while averaging 35.0 points. The league's fifth all-time leading scorer has taken 21 or more shots in each of those games after a 13-game run when he took more than 19 just twice.

"I've been in attack mode since the (All-Star) break. It's go time," Bryant said Thursday after hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 33 points. "We're getting a little closer, and we're starting to get in more of a striking distance where you start watching (the playoff race)."

The Hawks (33-24) can forget about catching East-leading Miami (42-14) in the Southeast Division, but they're in a tight battle with Brooklyn for the fourth seed and the first-round home-court advantage that comes with it.

Atlanta was hoping to arrive at Staples Center on a five-game winning streak, but it committed 21 turnovers in Friday's 92-87 loss to Phoenix.

"It's been good for us these first three games of the road trip, and we've been playing very well, (but) maybe we needed a game like this to just snap up back into reality," said coach Larry Drew, a former Laker point guard. "Now we have to go into LA to play against a very tough Laker team and then we go to Denver (on Monday) to finish this road trip out. We let a golden opportunity slip away tonight, but we've got to be ready for the next."

Howard better be ready for Al Horford, who has been on a tear over the last eight games - averaging 24.8 points and 11.8 rebounds.

Atlanta, though, will likely need a better offensive effort from Josh Smith, who had five points on 2-of-11 shooting on Friday, if it's going to post its first road win in this series since Feb. 15, 2006.

Playing without Horford (torn pectoral muscle), the Hawks had one of their worst shooting performances of the season (34.4 percent) in the last matchup between these teams, an 86-78 Lakers home win last Feb. 14.

Bryant finished with a season-low 10 points in that contest, Los Angeles' third straight victory over Atlanta.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #92 Stevenson  
  #6 ClarkPF #5 Smith  
  #12 Howard C #15 Horford  
  #24 Bryant SG #26 Korver  
  #10 Nash PG #0 Teague  


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Lakers Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
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Hawks Lou Williams
(torn ACL, right knee) is out.
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03/03 - ATL @ LAL
03/13 - LAL @ ATL
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