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Lakers 96, Atlanta 83

Lakers roll past Hawks

Pau Gasol has a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the victory.

February 18, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

The Lakers came back from the All-Star break about an hour after tipoff, even outdoing their fashionable fan base with such a late arrival.

Arrive they did, however, blowing past the Atlanta Hawks with a second-half surge that led to a 96-83 victory Tuesday at Staples Center.

It was a bland game as the teams tripped over each other in the beginning, the Lakers showing signs of not playing for six days. But then it became boring for Hawks fans only, the Lakers emerging from halftime with a 16-2 run that effectively ended it.

Kobe Bryant had only 10 points, and it didn't even matter.

Pau Gasol secured his third career triple-double by collecting 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in only 31 minutes.

Lamar Odom had 15 points and continued his rebounding frenzy, setting his season-high for a fourth consecutive game by taking 20.

The second part of the Lakers' season, 30 regular-season games and an unknown number of playoff games, began the way the home team had hoped.

"That's the way we wanted to start it, with a 'W,' " Odom said. "We're playing the right way, playing good basketball, playing defense."

The Lakers couldn't miss in the second half, and neither could their fans.

Robert Ward, 23, of Mission Viejo won $165,000 from the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas after banking in a halfcourt shot between the third and fourth quarters. It was the first time in the three-year history of the promotion that a fan actually made the shot.

It didn't look like it would be that type of night for the Lakers (43-10), or their followers.

The Hawks led by nine near the end of the first quarter as the Lakers shot only 39.3%.

"We were pretty rusty in the first half," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson understated.

In the second quarter, when it looked like the Hawks would stick around for the long haul, a Lakers fan held up a small homemade sign that flashed back to Sunday's All-Star game: "The Legendaries: Kobe and Shaq Co-MVPs."

O'Neal's Suns gave the Clippers a legendary 40-point pounding Tuesday in Phoenix, and the Lakers were eventually solid too, doing their damage against a playoff-worthy team in the second half after taking an ugly 45-36 halftime lead.

The Lakers made 17 of 25 shots (68%) in the third quarter. Odom had nine points in the quarter, Luke Walton had eight, and the Lakers led by as many as 25.

The Lakers' interior tandem of Gasol and Odom combined to make 12 of 21 shots, take 33 rebounds and hand out 15 assists.

Odom now has 74 rebounds in the last four games, the highest total of his career over a four-game stretch. (He had 67 on a four-game tear last March.)

Odom had 17 against Cleveland, 18 against Oklahoma City and 19 against Utah before getting 20 against Atlanta, two away from tying his career-high.

He also ended a running joke with Bryant, who claimed Odom would never get to 20 rebounds after knocking on the door three consecutive games.

"I was needling him a little bit, and he delivered," Bryant said.

The Hawks (31-22) had won four of their last five and had their highest victory total at the All-Star break since 1998. But they lack traction on the road, falling to 12-16 this season.

Their leading scorer was Joe Johnson, who had only 14 points on ragged six-for-17 shooting.

The Hawks shot only 36.9% on the night.

Bryant and Gasol did not play in the fourth quarter. It was Bryant's lowest-scoring game since a six-point effort last March against New Jersey.

"Extremely heartbroken," Bryant said, smiling.

The Lakers play tonight at Golden State and try to continue an already strong effort in back-to-back situations. A victory tonight would move them to 11-3 in the second game of back-to-backs.

Before Tuesday's game, Jackson compared the quickly diminishing regular-season schedule to the brevity of a college season, saying "It's countdown time now."

One down, 29 left until playoffs.

--

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

--

Lakers tonight

AT GOLDEN STATE

Time: 7:30

On the air: TV: Channel 9, ESPN. Radio: 570; 1330.

Where: Oracle Arena.

Records: Lakers 43-10; Warriors 19-35.

Record vs. Warriors: 2-0.

Update: The Warriors have won three consecutive games, their longest winning streak of the season. Pau Gasol had 33 points and tied a career-high with 18 rebounds as the Lakers won at Golden State last month, 114-106, despite the absence of Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton, who were out with assorted injuries.

-- Mike Bresnahan

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