Bryant led all scorers with 31, and Devin Harris led the Hawks with 15. Atlanta had six players score in double-figures.
After getting out to a 14-point lead in the third period, the Hawks saw Bryant go off for 20 points, hitting an array of jumpers and getting to the basket at will. Bryant even heard "MVP" chants from the large contingency of Lakers fans at Philips Arena when he stepped to the free throw line. Atlanta was able to hold on, with Harris making big bucket after big bucket down the stretch and Al Horford controlling the paint.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak by Los Angeles and kept them from gaining ground on the seventh-seeded Houston Rockets and pushing the Utah Jazz further back in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Let's see how the Hawks were able to win this game and snap a three-game skid of their own.
1. Held Kobe in check for three of four quarters
If you take the third quarter out of the equation, Bryant scored 11 points off 3-of-19 shooting (he shot 11-of-33 overall). Atlanta held the MVP candidate to just three points on 1-of-8 shooting in the first half and also contained him in the fourth quarter, as Bryant missed shot after shot and was unable to carry over the unbelievable rhythm he had found in the third period.
2. Won the rebound battle
Both Horford and Johan Petro recorded double-doubles tonight, aiding the Hawks in outrebounding the Lakers 52-45. Dwight Howard was the only consistent presence on the glass for LA in this one, and he was actually outplayed overall by the Horford-Petro tandem. It was a huge offensive rebound putback by Ivan Johnson with 33 seconds left that proved to be the biggest bucket of the game, as Johnson outworked both Howard and Metta World Peace for the board.
3. Bench production
It should come as no surprise that Los Angeles' bench was outplayed, but that is putting it lightly in this one. Atlanta's reserves outscored the Lakers' 44-16, as the Hawks got 12 points apiece out of Johnson, Kyle Korver and John Jenkins and seven from Shelvin Mack. With Atlanta playing this game so depleted, their bench had no choice but to step up, and it did in a big way. Korver also extended his streak of games with a three-pointer to 57.
4. Great help defense
The Hawks held the Lakers to 39.6 percent shooting, and that was largely due to outstanding help defense. It seemed like every team Kobe attempted to do something with the basketball, someone was shading over to provide some assistance. Horford in particular did a great job with this, continuing to demonstrate that he is one of the league's most underrated players.
5. Played with no fear
When Horford dunked on Howard and then Antawn Jamison early on in the game, you could just tell that Atlanta was brimming with confidence. Horford's exuberance rubbed off on everyone else on the team, and the Hawks played with somewhat of a swagger for the rest of the way.
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