Johnson Leads Rally, Hawks Top Pacers
Atlanta 104, Indiana 94
ATLANTA, Jan. 23 (Ticker) -- When it comes to the Indiana Pacers, Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks have them figured out.
Johnson had 28 points and six assists and Al Harrington added 20 points as the Hawks cruised to a 104-94 triumph over the slumping Pacers, who lost their third straight game.
Led by Johnson and Harrington, who combined to make 20-of-35 shots, the Hawks beat the Pacers for the second time in as many tries this season.
"We were kind of upbeat," said Johnson, who added four rebounds. "It was fun to get back there and play Hawks basketball the way we're supposed to play."
Atlanta benefited from the return of point guard Tyronn Lue. The seven-year veteran had missed the last four games with back spasms.
"Sitting out these four games when I was hurt, I got to sit back and see what we needed out there on the floor," said Lue, who scored 15 points. "We needed some leadership and someone to be vocal and keep encouraging the guys when we make mistakes. Go on to the next play and not hang our heads.
"Tonight, we did that. We stayed upbeat and we didn't get discouraged when we made mistakes. We just went on to the next play."
The Pacers held a four-point advantage with 5:47 left in the third quarter before Atlanta took the lead for good, 75-71, behind a 14-6 run to end the period. Lue scored five points and rookie Marvin Williams added four during the burst.
"It was huge (getting Lue back)," said Harrington, who added three steals. "He's a true point guard. He sees things all of us don't see."
Josh Childress made two free throws with just over nine minutes to go, extending the Hawks' advantage to 83-76. Stephen Jackson's jumper cut the deficit to 85-82 with 7:41 left.
A former Pacer, Harrington's layup capped an 11-3 surge as Atlanta built an 11-point lead with just over three minutes remaining.
"Everybody got involved in the fourth quarter," said Lue, who had seven assists. "That's what we need to win games."
Williams scored 13 points and Childress added nine for the Hawks, who shot 55 percent (40-of-72) to win for only the second time in eight games.
All-Star Jermaine O'Neal scored 24 points and Jackson added 21 for Indiana, which shot just 20 percent (3-of-15) from the arc. Indiana shot 48 percent (38-of-78) overall.
"For the first time in my career, I don't know where my team is," said O'Neal, whose playing in his ninth season. "I don't know what's wrong with this team. You think about it all day. Do we want to find a way? Do we want to win games? Do we want to be considered a team that could make the playoffs?
"I don't care what anybody feels about being traded. In a while, (management is) not going to have a choice. It's a situation where we are not getting the job done."
Indiana held a 61-50 lead with 10:27 remaining in the third quarter before allowing the Hawks to score 14 of the next 20 points.
"I think we hade eight turnovers in the third," Pacer coach Rick Carlisle said. "The eight turnovers, and what they lead to, was our undoing in the beginning of the second half. They were the aggressor. We were on our heels."