The Atlanta Hawks come up just short and fall to the Los Angeles Lakers 99-98 at Staples Center.
The Atlanta Hawks dug themselves out of a big hole in the second half but came up short in the end falling to the Los Angeles Lakers 99-98. Atlanta had a chance with nine seconds remaining, trailing by one and the ball out of bounds however, Josh Smith couldn't handle the pass from Devin Harris and turned the ball over sealing the victory for the Lakers.
Devin Harris rallied the Hawks late in the third quarter scoring 12 straight points to cut the Lakers' lead to 76-73. Kobe Bryant capped off the quarter with a last second three to put the Lakers back up six 79-73 entering the fourth.
Neither team was able to separate themselves in the final quarter. Jeff Teague's floater with 45 seconds remaining put the Hawks up 96-95. The Lakers went back to Bryant on the next possession who drove and drew a foul on Josh Smith. Replay showed that Bryant traveled but he went to the line and sank both shots to put the Lakers back in front with 33 seconds remaining.
Down one, Larry Drew went back to one of the Hawks' bread and butter plays. Al Horford slipped a pin down screen and took the pass from Smith for a wide open dunk. However, the Hawks were unable to slow down Kobe again as he put L.A. back in front with a driving layup with just nine seconds remaining. That set up the final play where Smith found himself under the backboard and his desperation pass was intercepted.
Al Horford led the Hawks with 24 points on 12-20 shooting. Josh Smith had a good night/bad night finishing with 19 points, seven boards and seven assists while going 9-16 from the field. However, Smith went 1-4 from three-point range, 0-6 from the free throw line and committed six turnovers. As a team the Hawks were just 8-15 from the free throw line which is killer in a close game.
Harris and Kyle Korver finished with 16 points each off the bench. Jeff Teague scored just eight points on 3-13 shooting and finished with five assists. Johan Petro turned in one of his best performances this season with six points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 34 points. Antawn Jamison added 15 while Metta World Peace finished with 13. Dwight Howard recorded a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds. The Lakers out rebounded the Hawks by a 43-36 margin.
Atlanta is now 3-2 on its six-game road trip and will finish up the trip on Monday in Denver.