Johnson, Hawks continue home dominance of NuggetsJan 16, 2008 - 4:28 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Hawks continued to dominate the Denver Nuggets at home.
Joe Johnson led six players in double figures with 22 points and Marvin Williams added 19 to power the Hawks to a 104-93 victory over the Nuggets on Tuesday night.
Josh Childress added 17 points and Anthony Johnson chipped in 13 for the Hawks, who have won 16 of their last 18 against the Nuggets in Atlanta.
"It seems to be tough for us to play here," Denver center Marcus Camby said. "They caught us on the second end of a back-to-back, but that's no excuse. Those guys played hard, they executed well and they shot a high percentage."
Atlanta, which never trailed, opened up the game with a 16-6 spurt and never looked back. The Hawks' lone All-Star last season, Joe Johnson, scored four points during the spurt, including a jumper to cap the run with 7:30 remaining in the first.
"We just focused in," Atlanta forward Josh Smith said. "We understood that they came from a back-to-back with the Bobcats, and we didn't want to let up. We had the energy coming in from the jump tip, and we wanted to try to attack them early."
The Hawks put the game away early in the second quarter.
Joe Johnson and Childress chipped in six points apiece during an 18-8 stretch to give Atlanta a 19-point lead. Once again, it was Joe Johnson who capped the spurt by nailing a 3-pointer with 5:39 remaining to give the Hawks a 52-33 edge.
"We came out on fire again tonight," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We had a great first half and a total team effort across the board."
It was the second straight double-digit win for the Hawks, who led by as many as 25 in the second quarter. Atlanta beat Chicago by 21 points on Sunday.
"(We beat) two good teams," Woodson said. "Denver is one of the top teams in the West. Granted, they got beaten last night in Charlotte, but they're a high-scoring team, and I thought our defense was so solid tonight."
The Hawks, who have won three of their last four games, finished their five-game homestand at 3-2.
"We got in a little rhythm right now," Childress said. "When you have that, you can't even explain that. You try to take advantage of it as much as possible. That's what we're doing."
This one did not end without some drama. Denver cut the lead to 101-93 on Carmelo Anthony's turnaround jumper with 1:47 remaining and was poised to whittle down the lead further.
But any chance at a comeback was thwarted after Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith were whistled for three separate technical fouls and were ejected with 38.9 seconds left. Joe Johnson nailed three free throws to round out the scoring.
Iverson, who posted 27 points, claimed that the officials missed two foul calls in the game's final minutes.
"I thought it was two no-calls," Iverson said. "I was upset about it. At that juncture of the game, those calls mattered. It was an obvious push in the back. The good thing for (Atlanta) is they got away with it."
Before he was tossed, the 11-year veteran Iverson surpassed another milestone, passing the legendary Larry Bird for 22nd place on the all-time scoring list with 21,815 points.
"It's an honor," Iverson said. "Obviously, Larry Bird is one of the greatest players to ever play the game and arguably the best shooter. He's a legend, a Hall-of-Fame player."
With the victory, the Hawks (17-17) once again said hello to .500.
It is the latest in the season that the playoff-challenged club has been at the break-even mark since Atlanta's last playoff team, the 1998-1999 edition, finished the lockout-shortened season at 31-19.
"It feels good," Josh Smith said. "It always feels good to be at .500. You're close to your goals being at .500 or close to .500 and making the playoffs."
The Hawks took advantage of the undermanned Nuggets, who dressed just nine players due to injuries.
Denver was without Kenyon Martin (staph infection), Nene (testicular tumor biopsy), Steven Hunter (right knee surgery) and Chucky Atkins (sports hernia surgery).
Anthony complemented Iverson's game by posting a game-high 36 points and J.R. Smith added 21 for Denver.
But unfortunately for the Nuggets, the rest of the team struggled. Only two other players scored for the Denver, combining for just nine points.
"That was our game plan, to try to limit everybody else," Childress said. "You have to give them credit. Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony are great players. They make and take shots, good shots. For us, it was very positive that nobody else did."
Rookie Al Horford scored 12 points and added eight rebounds and Josh Smith added 10 for the Hawks, who have won eight of their last 11 games at Philips Arena.
ATLANTA 104 FINAL
Jan 15 9:27 PM
ATLANTA 82 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 15 8:51 PM
ATLANTA 65 HALFTIME
Jan 15 8:08 PM
ATLANTA 34 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 15 7:39 PM
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