--The Hawks got their best game after two lackluster efforts.To get it before the largest regular season crowd in the nearly 10-year history of Philips Arena only made it that much sweeter for the Hawks, who won seven straight home games earlier this month only to be humbled by San Antonio Wednesday and then Boston Friday.
"I think everybody just got tired of not showing up and getting embarrassed at home by some of the top teams in the league," Hawks swingman Mo Evans said. "Even as bad as we played those last couple of games, we still had chances to win. So we knew if we came out and gave a better effort it was inevitable that we'd have one of those games when we came out and played like we know we're capable of playing."
Even more surprising than the fact they handled the Lakers was how they did it. "This was probably the best defensive game we've played all season," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "It was a total team effort defensively."
--On the other end of the floor they were surprisingly unpredictable, discarding their usual approach of playing outside in through Mike Bibby and captain and All-Star Joe Johnson, who had just 10 points and eight assists while playing sticky defense on Bryant throughout the second half, for a whoever-has-the-best shot approach that worked wonders against a stunned Lakers team.
"The thing we did best was we attacked from so many different angles," said Evans, who finished with 13 points, including three huge three-pointers in the third quarter, and six rebounds. "We had seven different players involved in the game and that makes it hard to key on just one person. We swung the ball and made every player on the floor a threat and that's hard to guard no matter who you're playing."
--Sunday's sellout crowd of 20,148 set the Philips Arena single-game attendance record for the regular season in the building's nearly 10-year history.
It also inspired the Hawks, what with all the folks clad in Lakers jerseys in the stands.
"Maybe it did a little bit," Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson said. "Really, this was about us losing those two games (to San Antonio and Boston) at home this week and the fact that we have to protect our court. This is our house and we have to treat it that way."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The Hawks shot the ball better than we did from the three-point line. They've always played us well in this building. My hat's off to them for maintaining control of the game and withstanding our runs." -- Lakers star Kobe Bryant, on the work the Hawks did against his team Sunday.