The Lakers aren't in that class, but the Hawks felt awfully good
about beating them Wednesday night since they accomplished the feat
in Los Angeles.
Josh Smith had 21 points and 15 rebounds to match his career
bests, Josh Childress scored 10 of his season-high 21 points in the
fourth quarter, and the Hawks held off the Lakers 114-110 to snap a
23-game road losing streak to Western Conference teams.
"We have had a couple good road wins, but this is by far the
best," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Our young kids did it
tonight and you need to tip your hat to them. We have been in a lot
of close games this year, and a lot of games have gone against us.
Tonight, they didn't buckle, they made plays, and they made their
Joe Johnson had 20 points and a career-high 15 assists and three
other players scored in double figures for the Hawks, who were 0-12
on the road against Western Conference teams this season and lost
their last 11 last season.
The Hawks (16-34) hadn't beaten a team from the West on the road
since Nov. 12, 2004, when they won at New Orleans 96-95. They enter
the All-Star break having won four of their last seven.
The Lakers shot 55.9 percent in the first three quarters, but
were only 9-of-25 (36 percent) in the final period. They were even
worse from the foul line, going 6-of-15. Bryant was the main
culprit, going 4-of-10.
"We just had a lid on the basket -- it was just one of those
nights," Bryant said. "We missed some free throws down the
stretch and it cost us the ballgame. We didn't do a good job
protecting the basket. They got a lot of layups."
Childress scored seven points during a 14-3 run that gave the
Hawks a 97-89 lead with seven minutes remaining, and a basket by
Johnson with 4:28 left made it 101-92.
Bryant scored six points before a 3-pointer by Odom with 2:06
left drew Los Angeles within one point.
But that was as close as the Lakers would get.
Odom made another basket with 1:07 to play, making it 109-107,
and the Lakers had a chance to tie following a turnover. But Smush
Parker missed on a dunk attempt, and Johnson's follow shot with
22.7 seconds left put the Hawks ahead by four.
Childress clinched the victory by making two free throws with
1.5 seconds left.
"There was no contact, I just blew the dunk," Parker said. "I
knew Josh Smith was trailing and I tried to go up with two hands. I
just blew it."
Said Smith: "I knew that I was either going to foul him or I
was going to block the shot, but I didn't want him to get anything
easy going down in crunch time. So I ran down and made a play on
the ball and caused him to miss."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he couldn't explain the Lakers'
horrendous foul shooting down the stretch.
"I don't think we have an excuse," he said. "The guys who had
opportunities didn't connect."
The Hawks outrebounded the Lakers 28-13 in the second half and
"We went small," Jackson said. "Kwame (Brown) hurt himself a
little bit and stopped playing hard. We really missed his
rebounding. Lamar got in foul trouble, and he's our best
Royal Ivey scored seven points as the Hawks opened the third
quarter with a 12-2 run for a 65-59 lead. Los Angeles bounced back,
using two 3-pointers by Bryant and one each by George and Cook to
go ahead 73-69. The Lakers led 84-83 going into the fourth quarter.
The Lakers went on a 16-2 run for a 25-10 lead, and were on top
33-23 after the opening quarter thanks to a 14-of-24 shooting
performance and only one turnover.
Brown had eight of his 10 points and all three of his rebounds
in the first half, which ended with the Lakers leading 57-53.
The Lakers and Hawks split their two-game season series for
the sixth straight season. ... The Hawks are just 5-20 on the road
this season. ... Lakers starting center Chris Mihm missed his sixth
game because of a sprained right shoulder. Jackson said Mihm was
improving, and probably would have played had it been a postseason
game. ... The Hawks have used the same starting lineup in 29
straight games. ... The Lakers are 13-3 in their last 16 home games
against the Hawks. ... The Lakers have played the fewest home games
(23) and the most road games (29) in the NBA. ... Lakers F Ronny
Turiaf made two free throws late in the third quarter for his first
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