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Johnson scores 30 as Hawks beat Knicks

Nov 4, 2006 - 3:55 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- When Joe Johnson sees the New York Knicks, his eyes begin to light up.

Johnson scored 30 points and dished out eight assists as the Atlanta Hawks withstood a big fourth quarter by Nate Robinson and posted a 102-92 victory over the Knicks in their home opener.

A member of Team USA at the World Championships this summer, Johnson averaged 28.8 points vs. New York last season, including two 36-point efforts. He had another big game Friday.

"I come in night-in and night-out and do what it takes to win," Johnson said. "I taking a lot more responsibility (with Al Harrington leaving for Indiana). That's how I'm approach it."

Johnson made 12-of-24 shots, scoring all of his points in the final three quarters. His second 3-pointer of the game early in the second half gave the Hawks a 60-43 lead.

"I told the guys that when a team scores on us, don't put your head down," Johnson said. You have to take it out and score on them."

Eddy Curry's layup with five minutes left pulled the Knicks within 83-80. But Speedy Claxton made a layup, Zaza Pachulia sank two free throws and Johnson buried a 20-footer from the top of the key with Stephon Marbury in his face to make it 89-80 with 3:53 left.

"They cut the lead to three and we rallied back by getting good shots," Hawks swingman Josh Childress said. "The experience of last year taught us some patience and, I think also, maturity. Last year, that probably would have been a loss. We took our time, got the shots we wanted and got layups."

"When we made the run and got back into it, we were making stops, but we couldn't quite come up with the rebound," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "They got a couple of timely offensive rebounds. We didn't do a good enough job on the glass."

Despite Robinson scoring all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter, the Knicks got no closer than six points thereafter, dropping their third straight visit here.

"They played well as a team. I can't point out one play that killed us tonight," Robinson said. "Josh Childress did a great job. Johnson, Pachulia and Tyronn Lue hit big shots. They just came out and played ball."

Pachulia scored 22 points, Lue added 12 and Josh Smith and Childress each contributed 11 for the Hawks, who shot 48 percent (39-of-82).

"It's a great win for us to come home and get our first game, our home opener. It was great," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said.

Curry led New York with 20 points but had just two rebounds in 39 minutes. Quentin Richardson, who scored 31 points in New York's season-opening triple-overtime win at Memphis, added 19.

"They came out with a lot more energy than we did" Curry said. We got down too much early and weren't able to fight back. They did a good job at finishing out the game."

The Knicks committed nine of their 17 turnovers in the second period and trailed, 47-37, at halftime. Steve Francis scored nine points in the third period, helping New York reduce its deficit to 72-66 entering the fourth quarter.

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