Lakers vs Atlanta: Lakers snap losing streak with easy win over Hawks
Lakers 104, Hawks 80 (final)
The losing streak is over for the Lakers, stopped at three games.
There was no doubt from the start that the Lakers were going to win this game against the Hawks.
The Lakers opened a 13-point lead to end the first quarter and stretched it to 29 points in the second half.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 20 points, without playing in the fourth quarter.
Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Andrew Bynum didn't have a very good offensive night, scoring just five points, but the 7-foot center had 15 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Lakers 80, Hawks 54 (end of third quarter)
Probably the most interesting call of the night was when Kobe Bryant was called for a flagrant foul after blocking a shot by Josh Smith.
What looked at best like a good block and at worst like a routine body foul instead was called a flagrant foul by Bob Delaney.
Smith missed both free throws, drawing cheers from the crowd.
On the Lakers' next possession, Bryant dropped in a three-pointer and then glared at Delaney.
Otherwise, it was another quarter in which the Lakers just toyed with the Hawks.
Bryant had 20 points through three quarters.
Lakers 54, Hawks 33 (end of first half)
The Lakers didn't ease up on Atlanta in the second quarter, taking the Hawks apart with solid defense.
The Lakers had it going so well that Steve Blake drew a foul from Mike Bibby near midcourt with two seconds left in the half.
The Lakers led by as many as 22 points in the second quarter.
By the half, the Lakers were shooting 54.5% from the field, and Atlanta was at 34.2%.
Derek Fisher led the Lakers with 10 points. Lamar Odom scored nine points and Pau Gasol had eight.
Lakers 28, Hawks 15 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers looked like a team that had four days off to rest and recover from a seven-game, 13-day trip before the All-Star break.
They torched the Hawks in the first quarter, shooting 66.7% from the field. Derek Fisherled the Lakers with six points on three-for-four shooting.
The Lakers held the Hawks to 37.5% shooting in the quarter, a big reason why the Lakers led by as many as 16 points.
The last time the Lakers played a basketball game, they lost to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. The time before that, the Lakers lost to the Charlotte Bobcats and the time before that the Lakers lost to the Orlando Magic.
Get the picture?
The Lakers were looking to break a three-game losing streak against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
The Lakers had four days off for the All-Star break over the weekend.
Because the Hawks like to fast break, the Lakers will have to get back on defense.
"Transition defense, one of our weaknesses, can be a real problem for us," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.
The Lakers will present Hawks forward Josh Powell with his championship ring before the game.
Powell was on the Lakers' back-to-back championship teams. He signed with the Hawks last summer.
-- Broderick Turner