Andrew Bynum continued to establish his presence in the middle tonight in Atlanta, leading the Lakers to a 101-87 win over the Hawks, the eighth straight win for the Lakers. Bynum had 16 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocked shots, and was the linchpin of a defense that held the Hawks to 39.8% shooting on the night. The Lakers have held five straight opponents to 87 or fewer points.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers tonight with 26 points, and continued his assault on the NBA record book. The 26 points for Bryant gave him 27,423 points in his illustrious career, passing Moses Malone for sixth place on the NBA all-time scoring list. Bryant began this season in 12th place on the list, and has passed six Hall of Famers. Next on the list is Shaquille O'Neal, though Kobe won't pass his former teammate until sometime next season at the earliest.
Pau Gasol had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists for the Lakers, who outrebounded the Hawks, 43-38. The Lakers shot 49.4% in the game, and opened up a 22-point lead in the second half. Atlanta was able to cut the lead to as low as eight points in the fourth quarter, but succumbed to their third straight defeat and ninth loss in their last 13 games. Al Horford paced the Hawks with 17 points and grabbed nine boards in 40 minutes.
The win for the Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak against the Hawks in Atlanta. The Lakers swept their season series with the Hawks for the first time since the 2006-2007 season. The Lakers have not lost a season series to Atlanta since the 1978-1979 season. The Lakers next travel to Miami on Thursday to face the Heat in a nationally televised game on TNT.
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