Johnson’s jumper gives Hawks third win in a row
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Joe Johnson’s rainbow jumper with seven-tenths
of a second remaining gave Atlanta its first three-game winning streak in
almost two years with a 96-94 victory over the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena.
The Hawks last won three in a row from April 9-12, 2004. Atlanta also won its
14th contest of the season, one more than its entire win total of last season.
Johnson paced Atlanta with 23 points and controlled the offense with 11
assists and zero turnovers. Al Harrington posted a double-double with 18
points and 12 rebounds while Josh Smith also recorded a double-double with 15
points and 10 boards.
Steve Francis scored a game-high 30 points and Dwight Howard added 24 points
and a game-high 16 rebounds for the slumping Magic, who dropped their fourth
straight contest. Hedo Turkoglu added 15 points and DeShawn Stevenson
contributed 10 in the loss.
“We had our chances,” said Orlando head coach Brian Hill of the tight contest.
“That’s what it comes down to in tight games. Who is going to make the shots,
make the plays at the end of the game.”
The back-and-forth contest came down to the final three minutes when each team
made clutch shots, with none bigger than Johnson’s game-winning basket.
Francis and Howard worked a pick and roll to perfection and the big man scored
in traffic with 3:02 remaining to tie the game at 86-86. Atlanta countered
with Smith’s three-point play with 2:43 left.
Then, Johnson completed back-to-back three-point plays for the Hawks to
increase the lead to 92-86 with 2:09 left.
Turkoglu made a difficult left-handed scoop shot as he was fouled and his free
throw cut the lead in half, 92-89. Francis’ jumper made it a one-point game,
92-91, with 1:24 on the clock.
Harrington made 1-of-2 from the line to push the Hawks’ edge to two, but
Tyronn Lue was whistled for a foul and Zaza Pachulia was hit with a technical
foul for hitting Tony Battie over the head. Turkoglu drained the technical
free throw but Battie missed both from the line.
Clinging to a 93-92 lead, Johnson missed a half hook, but Atlanta corralled
the rebound and Lue was fouled. The guard made 1-of-2 with 17.7 seconds left.
Francis drew a foul with 11.9 ticks remaining and made both from the charity
stripe to square the contest at 94-94.
Orlando clamped down at the defensive end, but Johnson shot a rainbow jumper
over the outstretched arms of Stevenson that touched nothing but net with
seven-tenths of a second remaining.
“Every time I shoot I feel like it’s going in,” said Johnson of his game-
winning jumper. “I got a good look at it. I pump faked it a couple times, but
I didn’t know if he (Stevenson) was going to jump or not and I was trying to
get a foul, but he didn’t so I just went up and shot it.”
The Magic couldn’t get off a shot in the final second.
Orlando led 29-25 after one period and held a slim 50-49 edge at the half. The
game was tied at 64-64 after three quarters before the Hawks scored the first
six points of the fourth to grab the lead.
Orlando dropped to 6-15 on the road…The Magic played without guard Jameer
Nelson (foot) and forwards Grant Hill (hernia) and Bo Outlaw (knee)…Atlanta
improved to 10-14 at home…Lue tallied 11 points and Pachulia added 10 in the