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Johnson, Lue lead Hawks to third straight win

Nov 8, 2006 - 3:30 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Joe Johnson has led the surprising Atlanta Hawks into first place in the Southeast Division.

Johnson scored 25 points and Tyronn Lue added 19, including the basket that sent the game into overtime, as the Hawks posted a 104-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Johnson was 8-of-17 from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, as Atlanta won its third straight and continues to stay above the .500 mark for the first time in four years.

"I'm just focused," Johnson said. "I think we are a great team. We just have to prove it. We have to believe in ourselves and I've been believing since day one."

The 25-year-old Johnson, who came into the game averaging 28.7 points, scored seven in the extra period.

"He's playing like an MVP," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said of Johnson. "You can say what you want to say. I mean, I know it's early, but he's on a mission too, and he's playing his butt off."

"I just felt like it was my time and I wanted to step up for the team," Johnson said.

Lue gave Atlanta the chance to win in overtime with his heroics in regulation. Following a missed free throw by LeBron James with six seconds remaining, the nine-year veteran drove the court, made a crossover move on Larry Hughes and delivered a floater in the lane over the outstretched arm of James as the buzzer sounded to tie it at 90-90.

"When you are in the penalty you have to drive the ball and he drove it," Woodson said. "It kind of opened up for him and he made a tough shot over an outstretched defender."

"Tyronn Lue has hurt us in the past and he hurt us tonight," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "That was a hell of a shot that he hit with that runner. ... He hit some tough shots."

Lue dished out 11 assists and Zaza Pachulia scored 19 points for Atlanta, which shot 52 percent (40-of-77) from the field.

"We are figuring out how to win games down the stretch, which we didn't do last year," Lue said.

James led Cleveland with 34 points and Drew Gooden added 21 and 14 rebounds for Cleveland, which shot 36 percent (33-of-91).

"Going down the stretch, things get a little bit tighter and shots are a little bit shorter and so on and so forth," Brown said. "I don't think it was a reliance on LeBron offensively during that stretch. I think defensively is where we struggled, but I have to go back and watch the tape."

The Cavaliers missed 14 free throws and have now lost two straight games.

"Missed free throws, that was it, James said. "That's the only thing that hurt us. We only had 11 turnovers. Eleven turnovers in a ballgame is not a lot."

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