Johnson, Hawks sneak by WarriorsFeb 23, 2008 - 7:28 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) - The Atlanta Hawks might be eight games under .500, but that didn't stop them from getting a big road win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Joe Johnson scored 17 of his 27 points in the first half as the Hawks took advantage of the undermanned Golden State Warriors in Friday's 117-110 victory.
With the win, Atlanta (22-30) moved into a tie with Philadelphia (24-32) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference where the final three seeds have losing records.
"We needed it," Johnson said. "It came in due time. Hopefully, it gives us confidence going into this Utah (game Saturday), but somehow, someway we've got to keep finding a way to win on the road."
"We've been in the thick of the playoff race all year," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We can't wait on somebody to help us get in the playoffs. We've got to control our own destiny and try to do it ourselves."
The Warriors were without center Andris Biedrins (appendectomy) and captain Stephen Jackson (left ankle), who missed his second game in a row.
"We missed (Biedrins) for his rebounding and scoring and his presence to get in there and block shots," Warriors guard Monta Ellis said. "And we missed Jack to guard the perimeter guys.
"Those two guys, we really needed them but, if we would've started out the game like we did in the second half, we probably would have given ourselves a better chance to win."
The Hawks, who held an impressive 23-point edge at one stage, went on a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter to push the lead back up to 12 points.
"They played a terrific first half, and we didn't," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "But (the Hawks) deserve a lot of credit. I thought they played a great game and took advantage of their strength against us and played like a playoff team."
Golden State closed within nine points after a 3-pointer by Baron Davis with 2:41 to go and got even closer following a left-handed slam by rookie Brandan Wright and two free throws by Ellis.
But Atlanta built a 12-point lead after the first by collecting eight points off six Warriors' turnovers for a 35-23 bulge. The Hawks pushed their lead up to 20 points on Mike Bibby's shot from the arc as they carried a 68-50 cushion into the locker room.
"We jumped out to an early lead on them, and the guys held on to the lead, and that's how you win games," said Bibby, who had 17 points and seven assists.
Davis scored 35 points for the Warriors (33-22), who dropped one-half game back of Denver (33-21) for the final Western Conference playoff spot despite being 11 games over .500.
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