No Smith. No Teague. No problem.
The short-handed Atlanta Hawks managed to steal a 96-92 win at home over the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night despite playing without two of their best players, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process.
With the Lakers trailing by two points late in the game, Kobe had a chance to force overtime but his fade away baseline jumper rimmed out with three seconds remaining. To add insult to injury, he came down on Dahntay Jones’ foot and twisted his left ankle. Kyle Korver then sank a pair of free-throws to seal Atlanta’s victory.
Josh Smith and Jeff Teague both missed the game for the Hawks due to sprains — Smith’s left knee and Teague’s left ankle — but luckily Atlanta’s bench stepped up and made the difference in the game. ATL’s reserves outscored LA’s reserves by a 46-16 margin. The Hawks also shockingly outrebounded the Lakers 52-45 despite being undersized.
Devin Harris filled in for Teague and did so admiradably, leading Atlanta with 17 points and seven assists (both team-high’s). Al Horford, the only usual starter, anchored the team with a double-double performance of 14 points and 14 rebounds, while shooting 58.3 percent (7-of-12) overall. Kyle Korver chipped in with 15 points, six boards, two assists and two blocks. Rookie John Jenkins (12) and Johan Petro (10) were also in double-figures.
Kobe led the Lakers with 31 points but took an overwhelming 33 shot attempts in the game, only making 11. The Artest formerly known as Ron poured in 20 points and Steve Nash chipped in with 11. Dwight Howard, an Atlanta native, had a decent homecoming with 10 points and 16 rebounds.