Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening home contest against Atlanta, the Lakers playing their first home game of the month after the 6-game Grammy road trip, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Hawks: J. Teague, J. Johnson, M. Williams, J. Smith, Z. Pachulia
5:35 It was all trees in the opening minutes, Bynum and Gasol combining their 7-foot frames to score 12 of L.A.’s 14 points, including consecutive put-backs of Lakers misses, plus five of the team’s seven boards in a 14-9 edge.
0:00 A solid overall first quarter rendered only a three-point lead, 27-24, at the quarter break mostly because the Hawks got hot from three, hitting four in the period including two in the final odd minute. The Lakers thoroughly dominated the paint (18-4 paint points) behind their big men, and even though Atlanta converted 50 percent of their shots, could be satisfied with the nature of where both teams were getting their looks.
7:00 That pattern continued into the second, as Bynum showed off two slick moves in the paint, and Goudelock added a floater to improve the paint points to 22-4, giving L.A. an early 33-26 cushion. Bynum was an impressive 6-for-6 after yet another pretty move moments later, though the Hawks added a fifth three to stay within five.
6:00 Troy Murphy continued a strong season of shooting from three-point range, hitting two straight to improve his team-best mark to 45 percent in 26 games, his latest putting L.A. up 38-30. Oddly, from that point until Josh Smith capped a 7-0 Hawks run with 1-of-2 free throws, the Lakers scored not a single point for the next four minutes and counting, despite Gasol (4-for-11) and Bryant (1-for-8) returning.
0:00 The bizarro shooting continued, L.A. missing 11 consecutive shots before who else but the guy struggling the most with his shot – World Peace – drained a corner three in the final seconds to keep L.A. on top, 42-41, at the break.
6:23 It’s always fun when World Peace heads through the paint with intent to score. This time, he finished a two-handed dunk off Gasol’s nice pass, getting L.A. to within one after they’d fallen behind by five due solely to four turnovers in the first four minutes (cut shot to Mike Brown frowning).
3:30 A brilliant reverse layup from Kobe capped a 10-0 Lakers run to put the home team up 54-49, as the Hawks suddenly stopped coming even close to scoring. Bryant, who was 1-for-10 at halftime, made his fourth shot in six attempts, and Gasol followed up with a put-back dunk to make it a 12-0 burst.
0:00 The old expression “couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn,” or whatever it is, was a big time understatement in describing Atlanta’s third quarter shooting. After a quick early burst, they literally didn’t hit a field goal in the final 8-plus minutes of the period, finishing 4-for-26 in the quarter. L.A. thus turned a 5-point deficit into an 8-point lead into the final quarter.
10:27 This Goudelock kid can really score, huh? His super tricky baseline floater was the warm up to a wing three that had his veteran teammates Bryant and Fisher off the bench clapping. That opened a 13-point lead early in the period.
5:33 Steve Blake had been solid off L.A.’s bench, creating shots for his teammates to the tune of five assists with only one turnover, and hit consecutive jumpers (including a three) to put L.A. up 74-62. Mike Brown had inserted Bryant and Gasol back into the game to close things out moments earlier despite a strong bench stretch.
2:08 Remember Kevin Harlan’s “Metta … World … Peace” call for an early-season dunk? Peace was at it again, getting Kobe to rise up in laughter after the hammer slam, which followed three straight makes from Gasol (including a corner three), and then the second World Peace three of the game with 1:30 left as the final dagger in an 86-72 game.
Your final: LAL 86, ATL 78 after a meaningless 6-0 Hawks run in final minute. Gasol + Bynum = 35 points, 28 rebounds and 6 blocks on a very quiet Kobe night of 10 points (5-of-18 FG’s), four boards and four assists, though Mike Brown kept his minutes down to 34 for the second straight night.