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Hawks push past Warriors in fourth

Dec 20, 2008 - 5:24 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- After toiling around for three quarters, Ronald Murray, Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks finally put away the woeful Golden State Warriors.

Johnson ignited a big fourth-quarter run with a pair of buckets and Murray scored 13 of his 20 points in the frame, leading the Hawks to a 115-99 victory over the Warriors on Friday night at Philips Arena.

Marvin Williams poured in 22 points and Al Horford and Josh Smith added 14 each for Atlanta, which improved to 10-2 at home this season.

"It took us three quarters to wake up," Williams said. "But we woke up in time and we were able to finally stop them from scoring."

Marco Belinelli tallied a career-high 27 points and reserve Brandan Wright poured in a career-best 19 for shorthanded Golden State, which played without leading scorers Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson.

"I think Marco and Brandan Wright had their best games individually," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "I'm very happy with both of their performances."

Atlanta trailed by two entering the final quarter before Johnson and Murray took control.

The Hawks' captain, Johnson ignited the rally with a jumper 15 seconds into the final quarter to knot the game at 81-81 before Wright split a pair of free throws to give the Warriors their last lead.

Murray took over from there, putting Atlanta up for good with a hook shot at 10:40 of the fourth before putting on a clinic against the Warriors.

He hit from behind the arc, scored on a pretty reverse layup and even capped the 29-11 outburst with a monstrous dunk, giving Atlanta a 108-90 lead with 1:04 remaining.

"He was able to step it up," Smith said. "He was making a lot of jump shots, making free throws. He did it all in the fourth quarter. And it's good to see someone else besides myself or Joe or (Mike) Bibby to look forward to take the slack."

Atlanta's solid fourth was in stark contrast to the first three frames, where the club played down to the level of the 7-20 Warriors.

The Hawks led by as many as 10 in the first half but, in typical Hawks style, blew the early lead at home.

"I think that we continue to play to the level of our competition sometimes instead of playing above (them)," Johnson said. "We have to learn how to play above their level every night."

Belinelli highlighted a 17-2 second-quarter run, scoring five points for Golden State. Kelenna Azubuike capped the outburst with a three-point play, giving the Warriors a 50-45 lead with 2:05 remaining in the second quarter.

But it was more of the same for the listless Warriors and their league-worst defense, which has allowed an average of 112.0 points. Nelson vows to change that by elevating one of his positions to the position of defensive coordinator to solve his club's woes.

Anthony Morrow added 15 points and Andris Biedrins recorded a double-double with 14 and 15 rebounds for Golden State, which has lost five straight games.

"I hate that we couldn't get the win, because I thought our effort was good tonight," former Georgia Tech standout Morrow said. "It has been a slow start this season for us, but the season is still early."

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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

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