With Bryant sidelined by a sprained right ankle, Atkins scored
26 points and had 10 assists Friday night to lead the Los Angeles
Lakers to a 105-101 victory over Golden State.
He's almost doubled his scoring and assists in the four games
since Bryant went out, averaging 22.2 points and 7.8 assists to
help the Lakers go 3-1.
"I don't have an explanation for it. I have constantly been in
attack mode," said Atkins, who has been on four teams in six NBA
seasons and is in his first year with Los Angeles.
"Every team I've been on, I have pretty much done the same
things. I am just getting more minutes now."
Atkins, who was 4-of-11 from 3-point range, has impressed Los
Angeles coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
"Chucky again was just tremendous," Tomjanovich said. "He's
just become a great, great penetrator and finisher to set up his
"His outside game has been fantastic."
Atkins recently won over another "fan." During the Lakers'
93-90 win over Minnesota, referee Ron Garretson told the Los
Angeles guard that he knew he was good, but not that good. Atkins
had 25 points and 11 assists that night.
"I didn't even know he was miked up (by ESPN)," Atkins said.
"I got phone calls about it. It was funny. It's nice to have a
general conversation with a ref without them screaming at you or
you screaming at them."
Two of Los Angeles' wins since Bryant was hurt have come against
the Warriors, last in the Pacific Division and 3-17 on the road.
The Lakers beat them 104-102 six days earlier in Oakland on Lamar
Odom's driving layup with 1.3 seconds left.
This time, Los Angeles lost most of an 11-point lead in the
fourth quarter, with the Warriors closing to 101-99 on Jason
Richardson's 3-pointer with 19 seconds left. But the Lakers put the
game away on a free throw apiece by Atkins and Odom, and a pair by
Odom added 25 points for the Lakers.
Richardson scored 26 for the Warriors. Derek Fisher had 23
points against his former Los Angeles teammates.
"We are scoring enough to beat anybody, but defensively, we
aren't making enough plays," Fisher said. "We are letting people
score too easily and too consistently, so that's where our focus
has to be."
Golden State led 69-62 midway through the third quarter, but the
Lakers rallied to an 81-77 lead and never trailed in the fourth.
Atkins scored nine points in the final 2:25 of the first half as
the Lakers reeled off a 13-5 string to come back from a 46-39
deficit and take a 52-51 lead into halftime.<
^Notes:@ Bryant was off crutches for the first time since
spraining his ankle in the Lakers' win over Cleveland. He has had
not set a deadline for his return, but asked if he might be back
for the Feb. 3 game against San Antonio, Bryant said, "That will
be a fun one. Hopefully, I'll have a couple of games under my
belt." ... The Warriors activated F Eduardo Najera from the
injured list and placed F Zarko Cabarkapa on the injured list with
tendinitis in his left knee. Najera underwent arthroscopic surgery
on his left knee on Jan. 7.