Either way, the results can't be argued: just ten days after a heartbreaking 99-98 loss in Los Angeles, the Hawks were able to return the favor when the Lakers came to Philips Arena, defeating the Lakers 96-92.
For the Hawks, the victory was truly a team effort. Six different Hawks (you read that correctly) had scored at least ten points with Al Horford and Johan Petro getting double-doubles for Atlanta. Devin Harris led all Hawks with 17 points and Horford pulled down a team-high 14 rebounds (10 of them defensive).
In what can only be described as an "away game" for the Hawks (there were definitely more Lakers fans at Philips Arena than Hawks fans), it seemed to motivate Atlanta to prove that not only can they hold their own with the big boys, but they can also beat them.
Atlanta looked dominant in the first half. How dominant? Bryant scored zero points in the first quarter and by halftime he had only racked up three point (missing one of his two free throws). Atlanta went into halftime leading 55-43.
In the third quarter, Kobe finally woke up. As a team, the Lakers outscored the Hawks 31-21 in the quarter, cutting the lead to just two points. Kobe led all scorers, getting 28 of his 31 points in the second half. However, it was his inability to score his 32nd and 33rd point in the waning seconds of the game that clinched the victory for the Hawks.
To Bryant's credit, he didn't accuse Jones of playing dirty. "I don't ever want to put that on somebody. I really don't," Bryant said. "I just think players need to be made conscious of it. I think officials need to protect shooters."
Jones offered his own views on the potential game-tying shot. "When I go to contest shots, I'm always conscious about making sure I don't walk underneath them. That's a very, very dangerous play" Jones said. "Especially if I'm fading away, there's no rhyme or reason why I should come down on somebody's foot."
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Hawks who will stay in Atlanta to face the Phoenix Suns this Friday.