NBA.com Daily Confidential

Joe Johnson led the Atlanta Hawks to an improbable comeback in their last game. Now he'll try to help them beat a team they've have little success against recently.

The Hawks go for their third straight victory when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Johnson scored a season-high 39 points Friday night to help Atlanta (15-26) overcome a 14-point deficit in the second half and beat the Orlando Magic 93-90. The Hawks' leading scorer shot 14 of 23 from the field and recorded 26 of his points after the intermission.

He scored 30 or more for the 12th time this season and boosted his resume for an All-Star selection. Johnson wasn't chosen by the fans as a starter for the Eastern Conference, but could be chosen as a backup by the coaches.

"There is no question he should make the All-Star team,'' Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "He's been one of the most consistent players in the league and I'm talking about at home or on the road. He's just been tremendously consistent.''

The Hawks are playing with newfound consistency overall, as they are going for their second three-game winning streak in the last two weeks. They have shot 50 percent or better four times in the last eight games, the same number of times they'd hit that mark in the first 33 contests of the season. Atlanta connected on 55.2 percent (37 for 67) of its field-goal attempts against Orlando.

Josh Smith added 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks.

Atlanta shot just 33.3 percent from the floor in an 88-75 season-opening defeat to the 76ers (13-31) on Nov. 1. Johnson scored 25 points in that game, but the Hawks fell to Philadelphia for the sixth time in their last seven meetings.

That victory sparked a three-game winning streak for the Sixers, who haven't matched the run since.

Philadelphia squandered a chance for a third straight victory on Friday, blowing a 17-point lead en route to a 105-97 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Sixers had beaten the Cavs in double overtime Wednesday in the front end of a home-and-home series, but couldn't repeat that success even though Cleveland was without injured superstar LeBron James.

"There's no excuses, really,'' Sixers guard Andre Miller said. "As a team at home, you kind of have to bury a team.''

Miller played well in the loss, recording his seventh career triple-double with 12 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. The eight-year veteran, acquired Dec. 19 in the trade that sent Allen Iverson to Denver, is averaging 15.0 points, 10.7 assists and 6.7 rebounds over the last three games.

Andre Iguodala led six players in double figures Friday with 22 points for the Sixers, who will look to improve on their 6-20 road record as they kick off a three-game trip.

The Hawks are beginning a four-game homestand, during which they'll also host Orlando, Golden State and Toronto.

Sixers guard Willie Green is day-to-day with a sore right knee that has caused him to miss the last three games.


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