Bryant scored 20 of his 31 points in the third quarter and the Lakers, who were down 12 at halftime, surged to the lead early in the fourth. Suddenly, they couldn't make a shot, going 6 of 25 in the final period.
"We all struggled," Bryant said. "I just tried to will the ball in the basket and hopefully generate some energy for all of us. It seemed to turn for us, but then we all went cold again."
Devin Harris scored 17 points, Ivan Johnson hit a key basket, and the short-handed Hawks shook off Bryant's big third quarter for just their second win in eight games.
"I took this one personal," said Al Horford, who had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. "We had lost a couple in a row. I felt like we really needed this one."
The Hawks won despite missing starters Josh Smith and Jeff Teague, both out with injuries from a loss the previous night in Miami. Six players scored in double figures and everyone contributed to the victory, at least everyone who suited up.
"That's the way we have to play," said Kyle Korver, who hit the clinching free throws after Bryant went down. "When we're missing guys, we can't just say, 'You're the next-best guy on the team, you take all the shots.' That's a recipe for disaster.
Bryant took a lot of shots for the Lakers — 33 in all — but he made only 11 and couldn't knock down the one that really mattered.
Then he couldn't get up.
"First and foremost, the officials really need to protect shooters," Bryant said before hobbling out of Philips Arena. "I can't get my mind past the fact that I have to wait a year to get revenge."