Inside the locker room

The Lakers’ 96-83 victory over the Atlanta Hawks was just what they hoped for in their first game after the All-Star break. At least that seemed to be the consensus in the locker room after tonight’s game. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol had big games for the Lakers, who left immediately after the game for tonight’s contest against Golden State in Oakland.

Here’s a sampling of the postgame chatter:

Kobe Bryant on the Lakers’ effort: “I was very happy with the effort. I felt like the guys, with the time off, did something good because they came back with a lot of energy and had a high motor, so it was good.”

Bryant on Odom, who had 15 points and a season-high 20 rebounds: “He’s found his niche.”

Odom on the team’s play after the break: “It’s the way we want to start it, with a win, playing the right way, playing good basketball, playing defense.”

Coach Phil Jackson on the Lakers’ sluggish start: “We were pretty rusty in the first half. I thought a lot of indecisive things happened in the first quarter. The young guys (Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar et al) came in and bailed us out at the end of that first quarter and got us going and got us to play a little more intense.”

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