Johnsonís Triple-Double Beats Bobcats
Atlanta 102, Charlotte 92
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 1 (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Bobcats each have reached No. 13. But only the Hawks are happy about it.
Joe Johnson collected 15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to notch his first career triple-double as the Hawks rolled to a 102-92 triumph over the floundering Bobcats.
"I'm a versatile player and that allows me to not only score, but rebound and get my teammates involved," Johnson said. "It makes it easy on myself and the team. Now, we've got to keep working hard and keep pushing and keep moving forward."
Meanwhile, the loss was the 13th straight for Charlotte, which continued to play without a host of key players. The Bobcats seemingly had an excellent shot to put an end to their franchise-record losing streak but were run out of the building by the lowly Hawks.
"We played hard and we gave it our all," Bobcats rookie guard Raymond Felton said. "We didn't lay down, but it's still a loss. It's our 13th loss in a row and it's tough. It's starting to get depressing, but you can't let it get that far for us. When you start getting depressed, you just keep losing."
The key run for Atlanta was a 7-0 burst midway through the third quarter that turned a six-point lead into a 58-45 bulge. Zaza Pachulia scored four of his 18 points in the surge.
"That team plays hard," Pachulia said. "We had to come in and play hard for 48 minutes and we did. We played good defense and that's why we won."
But the big star for the Hawks was Johnson, who continues to be a bright spot on an otherwise dismal team. He dished out five of his assists in the first quarter and collected nine points and nine rebounds in the second half.
"I thought it was fun out there," Johnson said. "It is a great accomplishment and I look forward to doing more of that."
Johnson, who was acquired in an offseason sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns, quietly is having a productive season for a struggling club. He is averaging 26.3 points over his last six contests and leads the team in points (19.9), assists (5.7) and steals (1.3) per game.
"I look at Joe, and the sky's the limit for him because he's untapped," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "He's a kid that's never been in this position. He came out of a position at Phoenix where he played alongside three other All-Stars and now he's in a situation where he's basically running the show. He does a lot of good things. He can play two or three positions and that makes it nice too."
Atlanta's defense held Charlotte, the league's worst shooting team, to just 42 percent shooting (37-of-88) and also held a 46-35 rebounding advantage over the Bobcats, who were outplayed on the boards for the 12th straight contest.
"I thought our offense was pretty good tonight," Woodson said. "But our defense was really solid from beginning to end. We defended and that generated a lot for our offense."
The Hawks shot 34-of-41 from the foul line, while the Bobcats attempted a total of 17 free throws.
"You can't get any momentum when there is a constant parade to the free-throw line," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "And 41-17 is ridiculous."
Al Harrington led the Hawks with 19 points and Josh Smith chipped in 12 and 10 boards for Atlanta, which had dropped four of five all-time meetings with Charlotte.
"We have been hitting spurts where we play like this," Hawks guard Tyronn Lue said. "We do a good job of sharing the ball. We have to keep everyone involved. Like tonight's game for example. We had five or six guys in double figures. When we play like this, we are a good team that can be pretty successful."
Felton collected 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Bobcats, who played without center Emeka Okafor(ankle) and Keith Bogans (knee) and Gerald Wallace (knee), among others.
Brevin Knight added 19 points and 10 assists for Charlotte, which has just one win in 2006.
"We can't make anything out of this," Bickerstaff said. "The reality is this is who we are. The one thing we have now is just effort, but we don't match up very well with the teams we are playing. This doesn't mean we can capitulate and this team won't do that. I want them to get everything they've got coming to them."