ATLANTA So, this is what a playoff victory in March looks like.
Despite being outnumbered (regulars-wise), outclassed (size-wise) and stuck in the middle of a Kobe buzzsaw (Bryant had 28 second-half points), the Atlanta Hawks pulled out an emotional 96-92 win over the Lakers on Wednesday, before a spirited sellout crowd of 19,163 at Philips Arena.
In NBA circles, there are no true upsets. But playing without Josh Smith (knee), Jeff Teague (ankle), DeShawn Stevenson and Zaza Pachulia, the Hawks were decided underdogs against the white-hot Lakers (9-2 prior to the battle), relying on unsung performers like John Jenkins (12 points), Ivan Johnson (12 points) and Johan Petro yes, that Johan Petro to bring home the victory.
Petro, who had a grand total of 55 seasonal points heading into Wednesday, notched 10 points, 11 rebounds and somehow helped limit Dwight Howard to only 10 points (with 16 rebounds).
Of course, the whole bench uprising would have fallen flat if Atlanta had not e...