Villanueva Helps Raptors to Second Win
Toronto 102, Atlanta 101
ATLANTA, Dec. 2 (Ticker) -- Charlie Villanueva picked the right time to roll to the basket. Joe Johnson picked the wrong time to step out of bounds.
Villanueva converted a layup off a beautiful pass from fellow rookie Jose Calderon with 2.5 seconds remaining as the Toronto Raptors overcame a career night by Johnson en route to a 102-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Villanueva took advantage of the first mistake by Al Harrington, losing him on a pick-and-roll and making a layup that snapped a 98-98 tie.
"I went to set the screen and two guys were on Jose (Calderon)," Villanueva said. "I was wide open. I was a little surprised. I'm glad to get it."
"We made a big defensive error there at the end, and we gave up a layup," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "In that stretch, (Villanueva) is one of the worst free throw shooters, and we let him lay the ball up. If he's at the rim, you have to foul him and take your chances at the line, and we didn't do that."
Following a timeout, Johnson had his own gaffe at the other end of the court when he stepped on the sideline after taking the inbounds pass from Josh Childress. The mistake ruined a huge night for Johnson, who scored 22 of his career-high 34 points in the second half.
"I really don't know if my foot was out of bounds," Johnson said. "If the ref said it was, it was."
"We found a way to get a break with Joe Johnson stepping out of bounds," said Raptors guard Jalen Rose, who scored 15 points. "He had a clear path to the basket."
Morris Peterson made two free throws with eight-tenths of a second remaining to seal things for the Raptors (2-15), who stopped a six-game losing streak and won for the first time in eight tries on the road.
"When the game got close this time, we didn't get tight down the stretch," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. "We didn't get down on anybody and nobody got down on themselves."
Bosh scored 23 points and Villanueva added 22 for Toronto, which placed six players in double figures and won despite squandering a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.
Johnson had a hand in helping the Hawks rally by scoring seven points in a 13-2 run. Harrington's follow shot with 3:24 remaining capped the burst and gave the Hawks a 90-89 lead.
"We played well enough to win," Harrington said. "The ball didn't bounce our way. We maybe outplayed them in every category of the basketball game, but it just wasn't meant for us to win tonight."
"I think defensively, we didn't have it," Johnson said. "When we supposed to come up with a stop, we didn't."
Harrington scored 24 points and Zaza Pachulia contributed 11 and 14 rebounds for the Hawks, whose latest losing streak reached four games.
"What makes it so tough, it's been about four or five games where something happened at the end," Childress said. "You play you heart out for 47 minutes, 50 seconds and then something happens."
Atlanta, which shot 55 percent (43-of-78), has dropped 21 of its last 23 home contests dating to last season.