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Kobe leads Lakers into Atlanta
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers finally notched a win with superstar Kobe Bryant back on the floor and will go for two in a row Monday against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
Bryant returned from Achilles surgery Dec. 8 in a home loss to the Raptors and battled through two more defeats against Phoenix and Oklahoma City. In Saturday's 88-85 victory at Charlotte in the second portion of a four-game road trip, Bryant scored a team-high 21 points, handed out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds in more than 30 minutes of action.
"My foot is feeling a lot stronger," Bryant said. "My Achilles feels fine. It's just the other muscles around there that are just getting used to running and jumping."
Jordan Hill scored 15 points and collected nine rebounds, Pau Gasol tallied 15 points and seven assists and Nick Young recorded 13 points off the bench for the Lakers, who used a 13-4 run to close out the game and won for the second time in the past six contests. L.A. leads the NBA in bench scoring (47.0 ppg).
The Lakers, who are next to last in opponents' scoring (103.5 ppg), have a 5-6 record as the guest and will close out the road trip Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Atlanta is back home for three straight games and dropped a 111-106 decision in New York on Saturday. Carmelo Anthony poured in 35 points and Andrea Bargnani added 23 to lead the Knicks, while the Hawks were paced by 27 points from Lou Williams. Williams sank a career-high 6-of-13 3-pointers off the bench.
Paul Millsap added 18 points and eight rebounds and Al Horford finished with 17 points for the Hawks, who lost despite shooting a sizzling 60.6 percent from the floor and making 15-of-32 3-pointers. The Knicks shot 50.6 percent and scored 36 points off 27 Atlanta turnovers.
"I think tonight was a night where the most aggressive team won. I think you give a lot of credit to the Knicks," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Defensively, they were creating a lot of turnovers, creating a lot of problems for us."
The Hawks became the first team in league history to shoot 60 percent and make at least 15 3-pointers in a single game.
Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver scored 13 points and went 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. He has made at least one 3-pointer in an NBA-record 93 consecutive games. Korver surpassed Dana Barros' old record of 89 games on Dec. 6.
Millsap is averaging 19.4 points and 11.1 rebounds in his last seven games, with five double-doubles in that time.
The Hawks, who went 3-1 on a recent homestand, will also welcome Sacramento and Utah to Philips Arena on this residency and own an 8-4 mark as the host.
Atlanta suffered a 105-103 setback to the Lakers on Nov. 3 at Staples Center and has dropped five of six and 10 of the past 14 meetings between the teams.
Los Angeles, though, has lost four of five trips to the Peach State.
12/16 11:03:23 ET