Tuesday , Nov , 08 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Hawks host Lakers in first game of season at Philips Arena

(Sports Network) – The winless Atlanta Hawks play their first game of the
2005-06 season at home, as they host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers
tonight at Philips Arena.

Atlanta started the season with three straight losses on the road. On
Saturday, Zach Randolph hit the game-winning free throw with two-tenths of a
second remaining, lifting Portland over the Hawks, 94-93, in the Trail
Blazers’ home-opener at the Rose Garden.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 23 points and seven assists in the loss to the
Trail Blazers, while rookie Salim Stoudamire netted 15 and Josh Childress
contributed 13 points.

Johnson, who was acquired from Phoenix in a sign-and-trade deal during the
offseason, is averaging 16.7 points and 5.0 assists per game in Atlanta’s
first three contests.

The Hawks will begin a three-game homestand tonight. They are scheduled to
host the Clippers on Thursday and the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

The Lakers start a four-game road trip tonight. They will also visit
Minnesota, Philadelphia and Memphis on the current swing.

On Sunday, Bryant racked up 37 points and Chris Mihm had 20 along with a game-
high 13 rebounds, as the Lakers posted a 112-92 victory over the Denver
Nuggets at the Staples Center.

Lamar Odom finished with 20 points on Sunday to help the Lakers top the
Nuggets for the second time in five days. They opened their 2005-06 season on
November 2 with a 99-97 overtime win at Denver in Phil Jackson’s return to the

Bryant is averaging a team-high 36.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists in
the Lakers first three games of the year, while Odom has posted 17.0 points
and a team-best 11.0 boards per contest.

Last season the teams split a pair of contests. Overall, the Lakers have won
three of the last five meetings. The Lakers have lost two straight at Atlanta.