Johnsonís Big Effort Carries Hawks
Atlanta 113, Golden State 106
ATLANTA, March 7 (Ticker) -- The Golden State Warriors' recent struggles continued Tuesday night in Atlanta thanks to a career night from Joe Johnson.
The Warriors suffered their seventh loss in eight games, squandering a double-digit lead in a 113-106 setback to the Atlanta Hawks, who got a career-high 42 points from Johnson.
"Jason Richardson's given it everything he has," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "He has showed tremendous heart. But it's a team and it's a team game. We can't do it with any one guy. We've got to get a first and a second and even a third guy. You need to get guys playing well and playing with confidence."
On December 31, Golden State (25-35) defeated Houston for its third straight win to move to 17-14. The club was entertaining ideas of its first playoff berth since 1994, the longest current drought of any team.
In 2006, the Warriors are just 8-21 with losing streaks of five, four, four and three games. They have slid to the bottom of the Pacific Division and are 5 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"I don't think we have that killer instinct mode," Richardson said. "When we have teams down by 10, 15 we've got them on the ropes. We let them stay in the fight instead of knocking them out. We have to act like pit bulls. We have to keep swinging. We have to go for that killer punch."
Golden State held an 82-79 lead after Adonal Foyle's basket opened the fourth quarter but went scoreless over the next five-plus minutes as Atlanta grabbed an 88-82 lead.
Johnson found rookie Salim Stoudamire for a 3-pointer, drained two free throws and converted a three-point play to push the advantage to 100-91 with 2:01 remaining.
Playing all 48 minutes, Johnson made 14-of-27 shots, including 4-of-10 3-pointers, and 10-of-10 free throws. He added nine assists and six rebounds.
"It was a lot of fun," Johnson said. "The reason why I say that was because we got a W. Me scoring 42 points, it would have been for nothing if we didn't get the win."
"It's not about individual battles," added Richardson, who made 16-of-29 shots, including 4-of-11 3-pointers. "He had a good game. I had a good game, but he had a better game because they won."
Golden State held a 52-40 lead after Mickael Pietrus dunked with 3:13 left in the second quarter, but the Warriors allowed the Hawks to go on a 12-2 run to end the half.
Atlanta scored five points in the last 2.8 seconds of the period. After Harrington's driving layup, Johnson stole Derek Fisher's inbounds pass and second-year swingman Josh Smith drained a 31-footer to cut the deficit to 54-52.
"We were in the lead, and all of a sudden you give up five straight points and I'm sure it takes the steam out of you," Montgomery said. "We should have been up a bunch, but we weren't."
Atlanta defeated Golden State for the first time in eight tries dating to March 11, 2002 and avenged a 25-point loss in its season opener.
"We didn't know our roles (then)," Johnson said. "We were just out there playing. Tonight everybody knew what their roles were and we played them to the end."
Harrington scored 21 points and rookie Marvin Williams collected his second double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who improved to 10-3 when Johnson and Harrington both score 20 or more.