Kobe carries Lakers past winless Hawks
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 37 points to
lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-97 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at
Philips Arena. Atlanta remains winless after four games this season.
Bryant shot 15-of-26 and dished out five assists and Smush Parker added 21
points for the Lakers. Lamar Odom chipped in 13 points, 11 rebounds, six
assists and five steals.
In Atlanta’s home opener, Joe Johnson scored 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting.
Al Harrington had a solid game in the Hawks’ loss, scoring 18 points and
grabbing 10 rebounds.
Atlanta also shot themselves in the foot by committing 22 turnovers.
The Lakers used a strong second half to drop Atlanta in kicking off their
four-game road trip.
“We were unhappy with the first 18 minutes of the game, and we weren’t
reacting defensively the way we like to see them react,” said Lakers head
coach Phil Jackson. “In the second half, we stepped it up defensively and were
able to get out and run.”
With Atlanta leading 51-48 at the half, the Lakers took control of the game in
the third quarter. The Lakers outscored the Hawks 31-18 in the period. With
seven seconds remaining in the quarter, Odom drove into the lane and made a
lay-up giving the Lakers a 79-69 lead heading into the final quarter. The
Lakers used a 16-6 spurt to end the period.
“Both team’s fought hard, but in the third quarter it seemed like they wanted
it a little bit more than we did,” said Atlanta’s Johnson. “We played well in
the first half but we had too many turnovers in the second and couldn’t put
With 5:42 remaining in the final quarter, the Lakers increased their lead to
92-78 when Brian Cook made a nice pass on a fast break to Laron Profit, who
slammed home his first two points of the game.
Two minutes later, Profit threw down another big dunk, giving the Lakers
a commanding 16-point lead, their largest of the game and putting the score at
99-83 with less than four minutes to play.
Atlanta controlled the first quarter of action with Johnson leading the way.
With 1:30 left in the quarter, Johnson drove into the paint and sunk a
floater, giving Atlanta a 10-point lead at 29-19.
Bryant would fire back in the remaining 60 seconds of the quarter, scoring six
consecutive points, including a three-pointer to narrow the Atlanta lead
to 29-26. Bryant finished the quarter with 14 points.
Both teams opened the second quarter with poor shooting and didn’t register a
point until four minutes in. Atlanta would continue to stay ahead in the
quarter though, led by Johnson who finished the opening half with 13 points
with his club leading 51-48 at the break. The Lakers had a chance to tie the
score towards the end of the quarter with 30 seconds left, but Devean George
missed a wide open three-pointer.
Several times throughout the game, play had to be stopped because the shot
clocks were not functioning properly…Lakers forward Luke Walton did not play
because of a hamstring strain…The Lakers have won four of the last six