(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to get their record to
.500 for the first time in 2013 Sunday night when they welcome the Atlanta
Hawks to the Staples Center.
The Lakers have won four of their last five and are 9-4 since the start of
February. That has inched them up the standings and can make them .500 for the
first time since a Dec. 28 win at home over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"You know. we were playing well going into the All-Star break, but we laid a
couple eggs against Boston and the Clippers, but for the most part we've been
playing pretty well," said Kobe Bryant.
The team only trails the Houston Rockets by 2 1/2 games for the eighth and
final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Bryant was named the West's Player of the Month for February. He averaged 23.9
ppg, 6.6 apg and 6.7 rpg during the month and was asked after Thursday's
victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves if he was gearing toward a run at a
"I'm just trying to get into the playoffs," he said. "I play for one thing and
one thing only and that's winning championships. So maybe if we had started
off the season a little bit better and if our record was a little bit better,
The Lakers beat the Wolves for the 21st straight time on Thursday, 116-94.
Bryant scored 33 points in only 31 minutes as five other Lakers scored in
The Hawks had a four-game winning streak snapped on Friday night in Phoenix
against the Suns. That was game four of a six-game road swing and it started
beautifully with three straight wins.
Atlanta fell 92-87 and had to work to make it a game. The Hawks trailed by 11
after three quarters, but just didn't have enough to catch the Suns.
"We didn't play very well tonight, that's the bottom line," said head coach
Larry Drew. "Maybe we needed a game like this to snap us back into reality.
It's been good for us these first three games of the road trip, playing well."
Al Horford led the Hawks with 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting. Kyle Korver was
next with 17 points on 3-for-6 from long range. Devin Harris and Anthony
Tolliver both scored in double digits.
Josh Smith had an uncharacteristically bad night. He went 2-for-11 from the
field en route to five points. He did had 10 rebounds and five assists, but
also committed five turnovers.
"I didn't have a good game," admitted Smith.
The Hawks committed 21 turnovers, which led to 21 Suns points. Phoenix also
shot 45 percent from beyond the arc.
The Lakers have won three in a row against the Hawks and six in a row at home.
The Sports Network