Johnson’s 39 points help Hawks down Magic
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Joe Johnson scored a season-high 39 points
on 14-of-23 shooting, as the Atlanta Hawks wrapped up a four-game road trip
with a 93-90 victory over the division-rival Orlando Magic at Amway Arena.
Josh Smith netted 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Hawks, who won
their second straight. Josh Childress added 12 points off the bench.
“Josh (Smith) made some big plays,” Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. “My whole
concern was playing Joe – I don’t think I rested Joe any in the second half.
He kept making play after play, and guys were doing their job defensively and
we were getting stop.”
Dwight Howard scored 19 points for the Magic, who have lost seven of their
last eight. Tony Battie posted a season-high 14 points and eight rebounds, and
Jameer Nelson also netted 14. Hedo Turkoglu scored 12 points, and Grant
Hill added 10 in defeat.
With the Hawks holding a three-point lead, Johnson converted a pair of free
throws with 59.4 seconds left to score his sixth straight point and make it a
Hill then hit on a pull-up jumper with 48.2 seconds remaining to cut the Magic
deficit back to three. After Childress stepped out of bounds, Nelson failed to
knock down a jumper.
Childress went to the charity stripe but made only 1-of-2 for a four-point
Hawks lead. Turkoglu then misfired on a three-point attempt, but Darko Milicic
rebounded it and scored on a dunk with 3.2 seconds left to cut make it 92-90.
Johnson got fouled immediately. He hit the first, but missed the second.
Turkoglu got the rebound but failed to get the ball downcourt as it was
batted away, along with Orlando’s chance for a comeback.
Atlanta attained an early advantage in the first quarter, courtesy of a 9-0
spurt down the stretch capped by a Zaza Pachulia jumper with 1:34 remaining,
and led 29-25 heading into the second.
Orlando got going in the second, starting the stanza on a 12-0 tear capped by
a Battie slam with 8:09 left. The Magic outscored the Hawks 30-12 in the
quarter to lead 53-41 heading into the locker room.
Atlanta regrouped and regained control in the third, opening the second half
on a 22-9 burst capped by a pair of Johnson free throws, for a one-point
deficit with 4:16 left. The Magic defense improved down the stretch for a
73-70 Orlando edge heading into the fourth.
“I consider this to be a very bad loss,” Orlando coach Brian Hill said. “I’m
very disappointed in our first and third quarter defense and that’s all I have
Friday’s game was the third of four meetings this season, and the Hawks lead
the series 2-1…Atlanta ended a five-game losing streak at the Magic, but has
lost 13 of 15 and 15 of its last 18 in Orlando.