Friday , Feb , 23 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Johnson boosts Hawks over Rockets

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Joe Johnson scored 31 points and dished out
seven assists as the Atlanta Hawks held on to beat the Houston Rockets,

Josh Smith and Marvin Williams each scored 20 points, while Smith pulled down
10 rebounds for the Hawks, who had dropped three of their previous four.

Tracy McGrady poured in a game-high 37 points and Rafer Alston contributed 23
points and nine assists for the Rockets, who have lost two of their last three

“(The Hawks are) the lowest scoring team in the NBA with the lowest field goal
percentage and they shredded us tonight,” said Houston head coach Jeff Van
Gundy. “Josh Smith’s length and quickness was disruptive for us at both ends
of the floor.”

An Alston three tied the game at 86 with 5:47 remaining and McGrady hit 1-of-2
free throws to put the Rockets in front. Atlanta, though, responded with an
8-1 spurt to take the lead for good. Johnson’s fadeaway jumper capped the run,
giving the Hawks a 94-88 lead with 3:12 remaining.

Three straight McGrady free throws brought Houston within 101-99 with 20.9
seconds left on the clock, but the Hawks hit their free throws down the
stretch to ice the game.

Atlanta led 29-28 after the opening 12 minutes and held a 50-45 advantage at
halftime. Things tightened up in the second half, as the Hawks took a slim
74-73 lead into the final frame.

“No question about it, it was an old-school shootout tonight,” said Atlanta
head coach Mike Woodson. “(Johnson) really came out and established himself
right out of the box, and (McGrady) did the same thing and they just kind of
carried it throughout the game.”

Game Notes

Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks, while Josh
Childress recorded 11 points and 10 boards…Juwan Howard contributed 19
points for the Rockets…The home team has won seven straight in this series.