Lakers 99 - Hawks 98 (Final)
The Lakers won a close one at Staples Center on Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks.
Kobe Bryant hit a layup with nine seconds on the clock to put the Lakers up 99-98. The Hawks had one final chance to win the game but Josh Smith turned it over under his own basket and time expired.
Bryant scored the Lakers’ final six points, finishing with 34 on the night while shooting 13-27 (48.2%) from the field. The Lakers shot 48.7% from the field as a team but turned the ball over 21 times. Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Bryant each had five turnovers.
The Hawks overcame a 16-point deficit to lead by one with 26.7 left on an Al Horford dunk. Atlanta's 15th turnover came at the most inopportune moment for the Hawks.
Horford led Atlanta with 24 points as his team shot 50% from the field.
Both Nash (15 points and 10 assists) and Howard (11 points with 15 rebounds) notched double-doubles. Metta World Peace (13 points) hit a crucial three-point shot with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the game with the Lakers down two. Antawn Jamison contributed 10 points off the bench.
The Lakers missed just five three throws in 18 attempts (72.2%). The Hawks missed seven in 15 (53.3%) including an 0-6 performance from Smith.
With the victory, the Lakers get back to .500 (30-30) for the first time since December 28. The Hawks dip to 33-25.
Lakers 79- Hawks 73 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers extended their lead over the Atlanta Hawks quickly to 16 in the third quarter.
Devin Harris of the Hawks caught fire, scoring 12 points in the quarter, to help get Atlanta back in the game. The Hawks closed to within three before Kobe Bryant hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it six.
Bryant led all scorers with 23 points. Steve Nash put in 15 points with nine assists as the Lakers shot 50.8% from the field.
The Hawks also shot 50.8% but were out-rebounded by the Lakers 36-26. Josh Smith led Atlanta with 19.
Lakers 52 - Hawks 45 (halftime)
The Hawks turned an 11-point first-quarter deficit into a seven-point lead in the second quarter. After reeling off 11 straight points against the Lakers, Atlanta hit a serious slump.
The Lakers went on a 14-2 run to climb back up by five. By quarter's end, the Lakers were back up by seven.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 14 points. Antawn Jamison chipped in 10 off the bench. Dwight Howard was one point shy of a first-half double-double (with 11 rebounds).
The Hawks were led by Josh Smith's 12 points. They shot 48.7% from the field as a team with seven turnovers.
The Lakers shot 51.3% but had 12 turnovers — a big reason why the Hawks were able to come back.
Coach Mike D'Antoni got a productive run with Steve Nash and Steve Blake sharing the backcourt (with either Jodie Meeks or Bryant at small forward).
The Hawks did not have an offensive rebound while the Lakers had four. L.A. out-rebounded the Hawks by nine (26-17) in the half.
Lakers 30 - Hawks 26 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers opened an early 11-point lead over the Atlanta Hawks but couldn't maintain the advantage.
Atlanta closed to within two but the Lakers were able to take a four-point lead into the second quarter.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 11 points on five-of-nine shooting. The Lakers shot 68.4% as a team but gave up 57.9% to the Hawks.
Atlanta was led by eight apiece from Josh Smith and Al Horford.
The Lakers (29-30) will play the Atlanta Hawks (33-24) for the first time this season on Sunday night at Staples Center.
The Hawks are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and have a winning record (15-14) on the road.
A victory would finally put the Lakers back at .500 this the season.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Hawks.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.