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Johnson, Williams lead Hawks to win over Rockets

Feb 24, 2007 - 4:59 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The lowest-scoring team in the league had just enough against the toughest defensive squad.

Joe Johnson scored 31 points and Marvin Williams added 19, including a clutch jumper and two free throws, as the Atlanta Hawks posted a 105-99 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Josh Smith added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who entered averaging a league-worst 92.3 points, while the Rockets had allowed just 90.5 per contest.

"We haven't been defending very well for a while," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We didn't do anything right defensively tonight.

"This is the lowest scoring team in the NBA with the lowest field-goal percentage and they shredded us tonight. We just didn't get the job done tonight. Their whole team gave us trouble tonight. We didn't take away anything from anybody. They got fast-break points and they got second shots.

Atlanta shot 47 percent (37-of-78) and Johnson was 12-of-22 from the field, and his fallaway jumper with 3:12 left provided Atlanta its biggest lead to that point, 94-88.

"Big time players step up in big time situations," Johnson said. "In crunch time, I love to have the ball. I love to make plays."

A few possessions later, Williams popped out to the top of the key off a down screen and buried a straightaway jumper for a 96-90 lead with 1:39 left.

"Joe did a great job of pulling two defenders," Williams said. "Fortunately, I could knock it down."

Houston superstar Tracy McGrady drilled a 3-pointer and added three free throws in a 40-second stretch to pull Houston within two, but Williams' two foul shots with 20 seconds left pushed the lead to 103-99.

"They were big," Williams said. "Unfortunately, we missed a couple, but fortunately enough, we were able to knock down enough to get the win."

Atlanta improved to 11-4 when scoring more than 100 points and won four just the 10th time at home all season.

"(Losing at home) shouldn't be that way," Johnson said. "We could easily be in the playoffs mix if we won with the home court. It's not over. We have a lot of basketball left."

McGrady finished with 37 points on 12-of-28 shooting. Rafer Alston added 23 points for the Rockets, who had won three of their previous four games.

"We kind of got away from our game plan tonight," McGrady said. "The Hawks played hard tonight. They were beating us to the basket, getting second-chance points and we didn't play well defensively at all tonight."

The Hawks have won three straight home meetings with the Rockets and 44-of-62 overall.

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