9:37 AMLakers 101, Hawks 87: March 8 Running Diary
Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening contest at Atlanta, the Lakers looking for their eighth straight victory out of the All-Star break, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
4:42 Phil Jackson said prior to the game that he didn’t want Kobe Bryant to engage in a 1-on-1 battle with Joe Johnson, instead hoping L.A. would use its big size advantages inside (Bynum over Al Horford and Gasol over Josh Smith), and that’s certainly how it was early. Bryant had yet to attempt a shot while the two trees had made three field goals each, but then hit two shots and fed Odom to spark a 6-0 run that helped L.A. take a 26-19 lead.
0:00 A poor effort from the Lakers’ bench saw Atlanta take advantage of 0-for-2 shooting with two turnovers to go on a 6-0 run, at least until Steve Blake hit a buzzer-beating three to give L.A. a 29-25 lead after one quarter.
2:50 Josh Smith’s three-pointer capped a quick 6-0 run to cut LAL’s lead to six, Phil Jackson taking a time out to express his displeasure with the Lakers conceding a few too many open looks for his liking.
0:00 But moments later, Bryant drew a foul on a three-point attempt and drilled all three free throws, in the process surpassing NBA legend Moses Malone for 6th on the league’s all-time scoring list with 27,410 points. He just keeps climbing the list in a way that’s difficult to put into perspective. At the half, L.A. held an 8-point lead (57-49) behind 58 percent shooting, Bryant going 6-for-10 (15 points) and Odom 4-for-6 (10 points).
6:02 Following a stretch of slightly better play from Atlanta, the Lakers went on another 7-0 run to this time open a 16-point lead at 70-54.
2:26 More of the same, with the lead increasing to 22 points. Bryant had 20 points and four assists, Bynum 12 points and 12 rebounds, Gasol 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Fisher 11 points with three assists. Complete dominance in a building in which L.A. hadn’t won since 2007.
3:20 But then the Lakers locked back down on defense, and got a dagger triple from Bryant over a draped-to-his-body, 6-10 Smith, making it 96-82. Jackson had rewarded Bynum’s terrific play by keeping him in the game, continuing to take advantage of a matchup that had killed the Hawks all evening. The young center had 16 points, 15 boards and three blocks in his 33 minutes.
0:00 Bryant would add some more points at the line, the game concluding to a chorus of cheers from Lakers fans in Atlanta that had been so loud all day, the 101-87 score sending the Lakers to a perfect 8-0 record since the break. Your numbers:
39.7 Atlanta’s shooting percentage for the game. This was actually the sixth time in eight games since the break that the Lakers have held their opponent below 40 percent from the field, a remarkable stat showcasing outstanding team defense.
22 L.A.’s biggest lead of the game, coming late in the third quarter, before the Hawks finally rallied to cut the lead to eight midway through the fourth quarter, forcing the Lakers starters back into the contest to close it out.
16 Rebounds and points for Andrew Bynum in yet another terrific all-around game out of the All-Star break.
8 Consecutive wins for the Lakers out of the break, five of which have come on the road.
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