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NBA- Lakers fall to Hawks, lose Kobe indefinitely


PhilBoxing.com




LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers' drive to the playoffs took a nasty turn yesterday when they lost on the road to the short-handed Atlanta Hawks, 96-92, at the Philips Arena.

Making matters worse is the injury of Kobe Bryant, who sustained a severely sprained ankle with 2.6 seconds left in the thrilling encounter. The multiple All-Star and five-time NBA champion will be out indefinitely as the 34-32 Lakes cling to the 8th and last playoffs berth in the Western Conference, a mere 1/2 game ahead of the 33-32 Utah Jazz.

Playing without starters Josh Smith and Jeff Teague and reserve center Zaza Pachula, the Hawks found unlikely heroes who performed well enough to hold off Los Angeles, which had won 16 of its previous 22 games. Devin Harris had 17 points and seven assists while Al Horford dominated the paint with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Kyle Korver led Atlanta's bench with 15 points while fellow reserves Ivan Johnson and Johan Petro added 12 apiece.

Bryant finished with a game-high 31 points. He exploded for 19 in the third quarter to rally the Lakers from a 12-point deficit, but his heroics came up short as the Hawks stood their ground and hung on. Kobe made only 11 of 33 field goals while the Lakers shot just 39.2 percent from the field (36-of-92) and 27.6 percent from 3-point range (8-of-29).

At 35-29, the Atlanta Hawks kept their No.7 spot playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference. They hold a 2 1/2 game edge over the No.8 ranked Milwaukee Bucks (32-31).

Photo: The embattled Lakers' push for a playoffs berth just got harder when Kobe Bryant sustained a severely sprained ankle in L.A.'s loss to the Hawk yesterday.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Mohan Labra Ramchandani.


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