We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 96-92 loss at Atlanta:
Bench points for Atlanta, led by Kyle Korver’s 15. Ivan Johnson and rookie John Jenkins chipped in with 12 apiece, while Shelvin Mack tied a season-high with seven. With the Hawks missing two starters – Jeff Teague and Josh Smith – their bench stepped up at the end, scoring the last eight points for the home team to stave off the Lakers.
Three-pointers attempted for the Lakers, who made just eight (27.6 percent). In the last three games, L.A. is shooting just 27.5 percent from distance after converting at a 41.6 clip in nine games prior. What happens is (the Hawks) send (Al) Horford to double-team Kobe, but they never got off of Dwight’s body all night,” coach Mike D’Antoni explained. “That leaves guys wide open. I could tell them to not take shots, but you just have to knock it down when you¹re open.”
Percent field goals in the fourth quarter for the Lakers, who missed seven straight shots on two separate occasions. Despite their offensive struggles, they found themselves in a position to tie the game near the end. Atlanta wasn’t much better converting on 7 of 18 field goals, but got a putback layup and four free throws in the last 33 seconds to pull out the win.
Third-quarter points from Bryant on 8 of 16 field goals, almost single-handedly trimming Atlanta’s 12-point halftime lead to just two points entering the fourth. This was after he shot 1 of 8 towards three points in the first half. Overall, he finished with 31 points, but took 33 shots to get there. Most of those came up short, a sign of tired legs that Bryant acknowledged.
Rebounds for Dwight Howard, his second straight game with at least that many. It was his 12th consecutive contest with at least 12 boards, the second-longest streak of his career (the longest being 14 games). Despite finishing with another double-double, Howard battled foul trouble all night.
Sprained ankles – Earl Clark and Bryant – for the Lakers. Clark played just 14 minutes and did not play the entire fourth quarter, but postgame, said he’ll “be all right” for Friday’s game at Indiana. Bryant came down on his left ankle after missing the potential game-tying shot with Dahntay Jones in his face. The Lakers are calling it a “severe sprain” and he will be out “indefinitely.”