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Lakers ease past Hawks

POSTED: February 18, 2009 1:16 a.m.

LOS ANGELES — Pau Gasol had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists and the Los Angeles Lakers emerged from the All-Star break with a 96-83 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

Lamar Odom had 15 points and 20 rebounds, Derek Fisher scored 14 points, and Trevor Ariza and Jordan Farmar added 10 points each to go with Gasol's third career triple-double on a night when Kobe Bryant scored a season-low 10 points.

All-Star Joe Johnson scored 14 points and Josh Smith added 13 for the Hawks, who had their three-game road winning streak end on the first night of their five-game West Coast trip. Atlanta, fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, had won four of five heading into the break.

Coming off a weekend in which he shared the All-Star MVP trophy with former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant shot 4-of-12 and never got to the free throw line in his lowest offensive performance since he had 11 against Washington on Jan. 22.

Not that the Lakers needed their resident superstar.

They improved to 25-4 at Staples Center by blowing out the Hawks in the second half after Atlanta led by nine in the opening quarter.

Sparked by Ariza and Farmar, the Lakers' reserves outscored Atlanta's bench 37-31.

Bryant hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter, but his teammates did everything else as Los Angeles outscored the Hawks 40-24. Atlanta's Mike Bibby virtually disappeared after the first quarter, when he had nine, and never scored again.

That gave the Lakers an 85-60 lead going into the fourth, when the starters watched from the bench.

The Lakers recovered from a slow start to outscore Atlanta 22-12 in the second quarter. They did it with just one basket from Bryant, which was all he had in the first period.

Ariza picked up where Farmar left off, scoring six points, while Fisher hit a 3-pointer to send the Lakers into halftime ahead 45-36.

Helped by five steals, the Hawks opened the game on a 24-15 run for their largest lead. Bryant was 0-for-4 before his bank shot went in for his only basket of the first quarter.

Farmar came in with 2:53 left and ran off six straight points, including a fastbreak finger roll and a driving reverse layup, that sent the Lakers into the second quarter trailing 24-23.

<B>Notes:<P> Gasol's triple-double was the first by a Laker since Bryant had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists on Jan. 21 against the Clippers. ... Adam Morrison, traded from Charlotte, made his Lakers debut with 7 minutes left in the game and scored 1 point. ... Lakers C Andrew Bynum, out since Jan. 31 with a torn MCL, has done some shooting while rehabbing his right knee. "He's doing pretty well," coach Phil Jackson said, declining to speculate on a return date for Bynum. ... The Hawks fell to 12-16 on the road. ... A University of Southern California student who hit a half-court shot in between periods to win $165,000 had the Lakers clapping for him and the Hawks staring in awe at the replay.



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