7:30 PM ET, November 12, 2002
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Suddenly, the three-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers can't shoot.
As a result, they can't win.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Jason Terry scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half Tuesday night as the Atlanta Hawks held off Los Angeles 95-83 to extend the Lakers' losing streak to four games -- their longest in 7½ years.
The Lakers (2-6), who have played without star center Shaquille O'Neal all season, are off to their worst start through eight games in 36 years.
``Injuries, poor shooting, bad record,'' said Lakers forward Rick Fox, succinctly summing up the current situation.
The Lakers, who entered the game as the NBA's second-poorest shooting team at 39.5 percent, made 32 of 94 shots (34 percent) against the Hawks.
The losing streak ties the second-longest for Phil Jackson in his 12-plus seasons as a head coach. The Chicago Bulls lost five in a row under Jackson from Feb. 26-March 6, 1994, and four straight in February 1990 and January 1995.
The Bulls won six championships under Jackson, who has guided the Lakers to three titles since becoming their coach before the 1999-2000 season.
The Lakers hadn't lost four in a row since April 1995.
``Wow, we were really pathetic out there shooting-wise,'' Jackson said. ``We just didn't have a rhythm.''
Jackson said he will give the team Wednesday off.
The Lakers' next game is against Golden State on Friday night at Staples Center, where the 79th straight capacity crowd of 18,997 booed the home team at times as they were going down to defeat against the Hawks.
This game had been targeted by the Lakers and O'Neal for his return, but he remains in pain two months after undergoing surgery on his arthritic right big toe and isn't in top basketball condition.
He hopes to play in the next week or two.
The Lakers were also without forward Devean George, who sat out the game because of sore ankles. George started the season's first seven games.
``We knew we had a good chance,'' Terry said, referring to the fact that O'Neal wasn't playing. ``We've got great post players inside, and Shareef really took advantage of them not having Shaq inside to clog things up.''
``The truth of the matter is, we're playing bad,'' Bryant said. ``Some guys need to find their job shots, and they will. What doesn't break you makes you stronger.
``I think we're letting each other down. Shots weren't falling. The ball's going to go down.''
Glenn Robinson had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Ira Newble also scored 14 points for the Hawks (4-4), who snapped a three-game losing streak -- all on the road. Terry had six rebounds and eight assists.
``With the big fella being out, we felt we had a big advantage inside, and we tried to show that,'' Abdur-Rahim said. ``A lot of things changed because of that.''
Atlanta scored the last two points of the first half and the first 12 of the third period for a 57-40 lead.
A 3-pointer by Robinson made it 72-55 with 4:16 left in the third quarter, but at that stage the Lakers tightened up their defense, holding the Hawks without a field goal for nearly 6½ minutes.
Shaw made two 3-pointers around a basket by Terry to cut Atlanta's lead to 77-75 before Theo Ratliff scored from underneath and Terry hit a 3-pointer to make it 82-75 with a little under 5 minutes left.
The Lakers weren't closer than four points after that.
Neither team led by more than four points until the Hawks scored eight straight for a 41-34 lead with 1:55 left in the second quarter.
It was 45-40 at halftime, and it could have been worse for Los Angeles considering the Hawks made 16-of-36 shots (44.4 percent) while the Lakers went 15-of-52 (28.8 percent).
The Hawks wound up shooting 43.2 percent, making 32 of 74 shots.
Abdur-Rahim scored 20 points in the first half while none of his teammates had more than four. ... O'Neal said he plans to see his foot specialist Wednesday. ... The Lakers learned before the game that reserve center Soumaile Samake had been suspended without pay for five games for violating the NBA's steroids policy. ... Fox, suspended for the season's first six games, made his first start of the season and had 12 points and eight rebounds. ... Bryant has led the Lakers in scoring in each of their eight games. ... The Lakers have a 46-42 record in the 88 regular-season games they've played without O'Neal since he joined them in 1996.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||32-74 (.432)||32-94 (.340)|
|3PM-3PA||5-17 (.294)||6-19 (.316)|
|FTM-FTA||26-30 (.867)||13-17 (.765)|
|Fast Break Points||4||5|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/1)||21 (2/0)|