|Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5) reacts after being fouled in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, March 30, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)|
Johnson, Green lead Hawks past New York 100-90
ATLANTA—Joe Johnson scored 28 points and Willie Green carried the Hawks in the fourth quarter, leading Atlanta to a 100-90 victory over the Mike Woodson and the New York Knicks on Friday night.
Green scored 15 of his 20 points in the final period, including a 3-pointer from the corner that stretched Atlanta's lead to 94-84.
Woodson, who coached the Hawks from 2004-10, returned to Philips Arena for the first time as the Knicks interim coach. His team wasn't at full strength, forced to go without injured starters Amare Stoudemire (back) and Jeremy Lin (left knee).
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 36 points and rookie Iman Shumpert matched his career high with 25. Still, the Knicks lost for only the second loss in 10 games under Woodson.
The Hawks got much more of a team effort than the short-handed Knicks. Josh Smith added 23 points, Marvin Williams 13 and Jeff Teague 11 to go along with seven assists. Zaza Pachulia handled the dirty work, grabbing 12 rebounds to help the Hawks to a 40-33 edge on the boards.
Anthony and Shumpert were about it for the Knicks. No one else scored more than seven points, and New York struggled mightily at the foul line (22 of 33). The Hawks, by comparison, knocked down 22 of 26.
Both teams were sloppy with the ball, but Atlanta did a better job taking advantage of the turnovers with 27 points off New York's 18 giveaways. The Hawks' 17 turnovers led to 17 points for the visiting team.
Atlanta built a 15-point lead in the first half and seemed on the verge of blowing it open again on a couple of acrobatic plays by Smith.
After a Knicks turnover, he led a fast break, shaking off a defender, passing off to Joe Johnson, then crashing the basket to take a return lob from his teammate. Despite a shove in the back from Anthony, Smith managed to bank in an off-balance shot, kicking out a leg to celebrate when the ball dropped through. He made the free throw to complete the three-point play.
Then, Johnson almost threw the ball away but caught a break, getting it back off a deflection. He spotted Smith under the basket and tried another lob. This one was a little mistimed, but Smith still made the grab and, after faking the defender, dunked it anyway for a 57-44 lead.
But, led by Anthony, the Knicks rallied again. When he hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third, it brought out the biggest cheers of the night from the large number of New York fans sprinkled around Philips Arena. The Hawks went to the fourth quarter still leading, but with the margin down to 74-69.
That's when Green, averaging 7.0 points a game, took over. He made all but one of his seven shots, including the huge trey with 3 1/2 minutes remaining. Anthony, on the other hand, seemed to run out of gas. He made only one of five shots in the final period, totaling just five points.
NOTES: Hawks G Tracy McGrady returned to the locker room early in the game with an illness. He did not play-- not that it affected the Hawks' rotation all that much. McGrady had played a total of less than 19 minutes in the previous five games. ... Smith picked up a technical with 5:02 left in the third quarter when he walked over to official Rodney Mott to complain about a foul call. Mott wasted no time doling out a T, leading Smith's teammates to step between him and the official before Smith got in more trouble. ... Anthony also had nine rebounds and five steals.
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