ATLANTA -- With the game on the line, Kobe Bryant was betrayed by his pinkie.
Give an assist to Joe Johnson's tight defense.
Johnson scored 28 points, including four free throws in the final 23 seconds, and he forced a key turnover by Bryant with eight seconds left as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 98-95 on Wednesday night.
With Atlanta leading 95-93, Johnson guarded Bryant outside the 3-point line when Bryant suddenly lost control of the ball. Bryant was called for over-and-back when he regained possession past the midcourt line.
"I think the ball went off his leg," Johnson said. "I went at it and tried to hit it, but didn't. I think it hit off his leg again."
Bryant's pinkie finger on his right hand was dislocated in Tuesday night's win at New Jersey. After showing in shooting practice Wednesday he could play with the injury, he logged 37 minutes with the finger taped to the ring finger.
"It is what it is," said Bryant, who said the finger was "very swollen."
"I'll try to muscle through it over the next couple days," Bryant said, adding his finger didn't allow him to feel the ball properly on the late turnover.
"It bounced out of my hand," he said.
Bryant had 10 assists, but was only 4-of-16 for 11 points. He was scoreless in the second half before hitting a jumper with 1:41 left.
Josh Smith, who had 17 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and five blocks, hit one of two free throws with 7.1 seconds left to push the lead to three points. Sasha Vujacic answered with a layup for the Lakers with 3.7 seconds left.
The Lakers quickly fouled Johnson, who made two free throws to again push the lead to three. Derek Fisher missed a last-second 3-pointer for the Lakers.
The Hawks have won three straight following four straight losses.
Hawks rookie center Al Horford had 15 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
"Al Horford was tremendous tonight on the boards for us," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "From a team standpoint, we defended a team that can score points. To hold them to 95 points, that's huge for us."
The Hawks finished with a 50-32 advantage in the paint.
"They got more points in the paint, which I think was the difference in the game," Pau Gasol said. "We should protect the paint more and be more aware of that in the future. ... It was pretty tough going against Al Horford on the boards. He did a pretty good job going after us offensively. He was the difference-maker for them tonight."
Gasol, like Bryant, had shooting woes in his second game with the Lakers.
Gasol made only five of 14 shots for 12 points.
The Lakers led 76-68 after three quarters and protected the lead despite playing all reserves for the first five minutes of the fourth period. A 3-pointer by Tyronn Lue, who scored 16 off the bench, cut the lead to 80-77, but Vujacic answered with back-to-back jumpers for the Lakers.
Even with Gasol and the other Los Angeles starters back in, Atlanta took an 88-87 lead on two free throws by Horford with 3:40 left.
Bryant's only basket of the second half tied it at 91.
With Atlanta leading 93-92, Fisher hit one of two free throws with 40.3 seconds left for a 93-93 tie. Johnson made two free throws with 23.2 seconds left.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he expected a tight game.
"We were leading late in the game, but the Hawks really crashed the boards tonight and that's kind of how they took the lead," Jackson said. "When I called the last timeout I told the guys we were putting ourselves in a situation to have a long night, and sure enough that's what happened."
Jackson scheduled an unusual pregame shootaround Wednesday following Tuesday night's win at New Jersey. Jackson said he wanted to give Bryant an opportunity to test the dislocated finger.
Bryant was the last of the Lakers' starters to score in double figures. He recorded his ninth assist, setting up a 3-pointer by Luke Walton, late in the third quarter when he still had nine points.
The Lakers led 53-45 at the break despite Atlanta's 26-16 edge in points in the paint.
- Atlanta is 15-9 at home.
- Attendance was 19,701 for the Hawks' third sellout.
- The Hawks outscored the Lakers 16-9 on fast-break points.
- Fisher made four of six 3-pointers.