The Hawks had a chance – but a late pass and a bobbled catch cost them.
The failed execution of a designed play in the final nine seconds left the Hawks on the losing end of a 99-98 decision to the Lakers Sunday night at the Staples Center. The Hawks overcame deficits of 11 and 16 points only to suffer their second straight loss.
On the final possession, Devin Harris had the ball at the top of the key. The Hawks set a screen for Kyle Korver and Josh Smith slipped underneath the basket as two Lakers chased the guard. Harris’ pass was late and Smith couldn’t control the ball. His last-ditch attempt to throw the ball back was intercepted by Steve Blake.
Game over.
“We sent Kyle off a screen, sent him back and Josh was to slip the screen,” Harris said. “I was a little bit late on the pass and that put Smoove in a bad position and he couldn’t get a shot.”
Coach Larry Drew said the Hawks ran the designed play following a timeout.
“We executed it very well,” Drew said. “Both (defenders) came to Kyle, Josh slipped it and we got it to him. He just bobbled it. He lost control of it a little bit and was off balance and tried to make a pass out.”
The Hawks (33-25) lost their fourth straight to the Lakers and seventh in a row at the Staples Center. They have not won in Los Angeles in over two years, their last win came Jan. 2, 2011 against the Clippers.
Kobe Bryant saved the Lakers – several times. The star scored 11 of the Lakers’ 20 fourth-quarter points, including their final six. His emphatic dunk with 2:12 remaining gave the Lakers a one-point lead, 95-94, after Jeff Teague hit a pair of free throws to put the Hawks up. Bryant answered a Teague floating layup with a pair of free throws after being fouled by Smith with 33.5 seconds remaining. The Hawks took their last lead, 98-97, when Smith found Al Horford under the basket with 26.7 seconds left. Bryant scored the final points of the game, on his way to a game-high 34 points, with a driving layup over Smith that banked in high off the backboard and set up the final sequence.