Los Angeles has not swept the two-game set against Atlanta since 1999-00, the first season of its three straight championships. The Lakers are only 6-5 against the Hawks since that season, including a 103-97 win at Atlanta on Nov. 8.
Despite NBA scoring leader Kobe Bryant’s lowest point total in nearly two months, Los Angeles defeated Utah 94-88 on Monday. Bryant made just six of 20 shots for 23 points, his worst output since he scored 21 against Orlando on Dec. 23.
“I really don’t care about the scoring title. I could care less,” Bryant said. “I don’t care about shooting the ball or anything. I mean, if I need to score 35 or 40 points, or whatever it is, I do it to win the game. If I don’t need to, then I don’t. We needed this win, and that is what we were able to do.”
The Lakers climbed back over .500 with the victory and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the ninth-place Jazz in the Western Conference standings. Bryant, though, claimed that he is not worried about the standings.
“I don’t play for eighth seeds, seventh seeds or sixth seeds. I play for titles. So I don’t even think about judging the progression of the season until we get to that championship form again, where we start contending for a title,” he said.
Atlanta has lost 23 straight on the road against Western Conference opponents since a 96-95 win at New Orleans on Nov. 12, 2004. The Hawks fell to 0-12 on the road this season against teams from the West with a 109-84 loss to Sacramento on Feb. 14.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board because I’m not pleased at all about the way we played and with our effort in the second half,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “We were lucky to be down eight at the half and it wasn’t even close in the second half.”
Hawks forward Al Harrington is going through a rough stretch, averaging 15 points but shooting 37 percent over his last five games.