LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 03: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks over Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on March 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 99-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Game Recap – Kobe’s Late Bucket Helps Lakers Hold Off Hawks 99-98


LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 3: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers makes the go-ahead layup against the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on March 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

He’s known as the “Black Mamba” for a reason!

Known for his reputation for being aggressive and highly venomous, just like the fastest snake in the world with the ink-stained mouth that bares the same moniker, Kobe Bryant slithered his way to the hoop and delivered the striking blow against the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night to lift the Lakers to a 99-98 victory.

Bryant drove past Al Horford and into the belly of Josh Smith but was able to covert the game-winning layup high off the glass with nine seconds left, bringing Los Angeles (30-30) back to a .500 record for the first time in more than two months.

Kobe dropped 11 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter and finished with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Steve Nash scored 15 points and added 10 assists, while Dwight Howard chipped in with 11 points and 15 boards. Metta World Peace (13) and Antawn Jamison (10) were also in double-figures.

Al Horford led the Atlanta Hawks (33-25) with 24 points on 12-of-20 shooting, along with five rebounds, three steals and three assists. Josh Smith flirted with a triple-double but came up short, finishing with 19 points, seven boards and seven assists on 9-of-16 shooting. Reserves Kyle Korver and Devin Harris combined for 32 points. Korver stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Harris had 16 points, six assists, three boards and three steals. No other Hawks player scored more than eight points.

The last minute of the game featured four lead changes, and there was almost a fifth. The Josh Smith-Al Horford high-low post game almost won the day again. Ultimately, however, Bryant connected on the game-winning layup with 9 seconds to go to finish the Hawks for good.

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