It has been a long, tough road back to .500 for the Los Angeles Lakers, but they finally got there with a hard-fought 99-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night at the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant's driving layup with nine seconds left gave the Lakers the win, and at 30-30, they are back at .500 for the first time since December.
Naturally, the Lakers made it difficult on themselves, blowing a 16-point second half lead only to pull through thanks to Bryant's heroics. Bryant scored 34 points on 13-of-27 shooting, making big play after big play throughout a back-and-forth fourth quarter. His game-winner came moments after Al Horford had put the Hawks ahead with a dunk. Atlanta had one last chance after Bryant's go-ahead bucket, but Josh Smith turned it over.
Steve Nash and Dwight Howard both notched double-doubles for the Lakers, and Metta World Peace hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help stem the tide as the Hawks were making their charge.
Horford led Atlanta with 24 points on 12-of-20 shooting and hit several clutch shots down the stretch, but it was Kyle Korver and Devin Harris who helped the Hawks get back in the game. Korver and Harris had 16 points apiece off the bench, with much of that damage coming in the second half.
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