INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It was vintage Magic Johnson as he played most of the game, recorded a triple-double and orchestrated the show at "winnin' time."
In his longest stint since coming back six games ago, Johnson led the Los Angeles Lakers to an 87-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks last night with 15 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
Vlade Divac scored the winning points on a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left. It was Johnson's pass to Divac underneath, however, that allowed Divac to draw a foul by the Hawks' Andrew Lang.
Johnson, still coming off the bench, played 39 minutes - all 12 in the fourth quarter as Elden Campbell fouled out with 10 minutes to go.
"It's nice to finally get one," Johnson said after logging his 138th career triple-double, his first since announcing in 1991 that he was retiring after testing positive for HIV.
Johnson didn't give himself a perfect grade, however, saying: "The only problem was I missed a couple of free throws that normally I knock down, and I was upset about that."
Steve Smith, who led Atlanta with 20 points said, "We thought we had an advantage when Elden fouled out, but Earvin came in."
Gill forced out with broken hand
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Kendall Gill, a key acquisition for the New Jersey Nets in the trade that sent Kenny Anderson to Charlotte, broke his left hand last night and will be sidelined indefinitely.
Gill, a former Sonic, broke the first metacarpal of his hand trying to steal the ball from Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller. "I was trying to get the ball, and his elbow came right down on my hand," said Gill, who was averaging 17.5 points with New Jersey.