for this game

Johnson, Hawks throttle Knicks

Mar 17, 2008 - 1:50 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) - It was a slow start but Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks eventually did something they had to get done - win a road game against an inferior opponent.

Johnson scored 28 points as the Hawks snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 109-98 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday night.

Marvin Williams added 20 of his 25 points in the second half and Josh Childress contributed 22 for Atlanta, which won a road game for the first time since a seven-point win in Golden State on February 25.

The Hawks also improved to 3-19 in their last 22 road games and are just 8-25 away from Philips Arena.

"We just got to come out and play with a little more sense of urgency with these last 16 or 17 games left, we got to take it one game at a time," Johnson said. "We got to play every game like it's our last because we're trying to make the playoffs. We really got to buckle down these last few games."

Philips Arena was the site of Atlanta's most lopsided win of the season - a 117-93 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night - and the victory in New York gave the Hawks consecutive wins for the first time since February 27-29.

By beating the Knicks for the second time this season and for just the second instance in their last 15 visits to New York, the Hawks kept pace in their own version of "March Madness". They improved to 28-38 and pulled into a tie with the idle New Jersey Nets for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Johnson finished with 11 assists for his sixth double-double of the season. The trio of Johnson, Williams and Childress combined to score 46 of Atlanta's 56 second-half points on a night in which point guard Mike Bibby shot 2-of-11.

"For us, we have no room for error," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I'm telling my guys we can't be begging and hoping that teams lose. We just got to handle our business and take it one game at a time. We got a three-game trip. It's nice to get this first one and we'll go to Washington and see what we're made of."

"It's huge," Williams said. "New Jersey's winning games. Philadelphia's winning games. So we got to continue to keep pace with those guys. We got to take care of our business."

Atlanta eventually pulled the victory out by producing a strong start to the fourth and a decent finish.

"We've been in this position so many times on the road where we built leads and just weren't able to hold on for some reasons," Woodson said. "Tonight I thought we were solid all the way through. We made shots when we needed it and then we got key stops and key rebounds when we had to."

The Hawks opened the quarter with a 17-8 run and seemed to be on the way to clinching the victory when rookie Al Horford's dunk with 7:03 remaining gave them a 98-87 advantage.

The Knicks cut into Atlanta's 15-point edge by scoring six straight points. Childress ended the Hawks' momentum when he threw in a 3-pointer with one second left on the shot clock with 3:40 left.

"That's big for us," Childress said. "For us to finish a game like we did, I think it's showing major improvement and we're doing it at the right time."

Before the fourth, this one was nowhere as easy as Friday.

Johnson started 1-of-5 from the floor and had 16 points at halftime as the Hawks led by as many as 10 before setting for a 53-49 edge.

Atlanta led most of the third and went ahead for good on Williams' reverse baseline dunk with 7:47 remaining. That put them in front, 66-64, but the Hawks never led by more than six and held a 85-79 lead entering the fourth.

Nate Robinson scored 23 points for the Knicks, who have dropped eight of their last nine.

New York also lost its fifth straight home game and continued its pattern of poor fourth quarters at home.

Reserve Fred Jones added 14 points while Zach Randolph started at center for Eddy Curry and chipped in 13. Jamal Crawford was held to four on 1-of-7 shooting and the Knicks missed 14 of 20 shots in the fourth.

"They hit big shots," Randolph said. "Marvin Wlliams had a big game and, of course, Joe had a great game. They just dominated the game."

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