ATLANTA — What a long, strange trip. The Lakers got thumped by the Atlanta Hawks tonight and fell to 2-3 on their five-game trip. They never found the right kind of rhythm tonight, unless you count reeling as a rhythm. Kobe Bryant scored 28 points, Pau Gasol had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Jordan Farmar had 16 points and Ron Artest had 15. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 25 points on 10-for-20 shooting. The Lakers never led after the early minutes. Now they return to L.A. to face the Utah Jazz on Friday.
“What we did just didn’t work,” Artest said. “I’m not going to make excuses. We definitely tried out best. On this trip, our best wasn’t good enough. I don’t think we need to fix anything. We just need to continue to play.”
Said Bryant: “We’re not playing well defensively. This trip, it’s been consistently bad. So we have to get back to work.”
Said Lakers coach Phil Jackson: “They just outplayed us. Regardless of inspiration, they beat us to balls, they were quicker to the offensive boards. They had no turnovers in the second half.”