for this game

Johnson, Bibby lift Hawks past Raptors

Jan 19, 2009 - 11:07 PM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks recorded a rare January win and extended the Toronto Raptors' losing streak to six along the way.

Johnson scored 28 points and sank a key jumper before altering a shot down the stretch Monday afternoon, leading the shorthanded Hawks to an 87-84 win over the injury-plagued Raptors.

Mike Bibby scored 23 points while Josh Smith finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta, which won for just the third time in 2009.

"We had to dig deep," said Smith, who was one of three Atlanta starters to play 43-plus minutes. "We understood that we were going to play a lot of minutes. We just had to step up the plate."

Chris Bosh scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while Andrea Bargnani recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards for the Raptors, who have not won since a 103-82 triumph over the lowly Memphis Grizzlies on January 9.

"Here we are in the same situation tonight that we've been in the last two games, and we came up short again," Raptors guard Anthony Parker said. "We're going to have to play smarter as a team and work on our mental toughness."

Toronto took a two-point lead into the game's final minutes when Parker nailed a jumper with 2:23 remaining to give the Raptors an 84-82 lead. But the Raptors' shots evaporated thereafter, as the Hawks scored the final five points to secure the win.

Johnson connected on one-of-two free throws with 93 seconds remaining before Bibby drained a pair from the charity stripe to give Atlanta an 85-84 lead with 54.4 seconds remaining.

The teams traded possessions before Johnson snared the rebound of Jamario Moon's 3-pointer and drained a long jumper over Parker and Moon to secure the victory.

"I just wanted to be aggressive and try to make plays," said Johnson, who crashed to the floor following the shot after making contact with Moon. "Down the stretch, we got stops and made a lot of big plays."

"It was a big shot," Bibby said. "I told him when he hit it, he definitely saved us. ... We got the stops when we needed to and the scoring took care of itself."

Jason Kapono, who missed Toronto's last game with the flu and wasn't supposed to play in this one, had two attempts from behind the arc to tie it.

But Johnson altered Kapono's first attempt and Smith secured the rebound on his second to close out the contest.

"Tonight is a perfect example of how we didn't execute down the stretch at either end of the floor," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "I think we're going to have to find a way to fight through this. It's disappointing to lose a game like this, where we had the lead for most of the game."

Toronto held a 49-40 advantage on the boards, but finished 2-for-18 from behind the 3-point line.

"I think our biggest glaring hole was execution," said Parker, who finished 0-for-4 from behind the arc. "You can't win games unless you execute plays and knock down shots."

Atlanta won without injured starting forwards Marvin Williams (concussion) and Al Horford (right knee). Acie Law IV injured his right thigh in the second quarter and did not return and fellow reserve Mario West tweaked his left ankle in the third quarter.

Law and Horford will not play against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Tuesday. It is also unlikely that Williams, who is still experiencing headaches after violently crashing his head on the floor on a foul by Warriors forward Ronnie Turiaf, will see action on Tuesday as well.

But the injuries will not deter Johnson and the Hawks, do not have time to be concerned with fatigue and attrition.

"It's tough right now," Johnson said. "But it's part of the game, guys have to step up."

Toronto was without point guard Jose Calderon (right hamstring), center Jermaine O'Neal (right knee) and forward Kris Humphries (right shin).

Toronto used a 10-4 run to take a 51-42 lead into the break before Atlanta clawed back into it in the third quarter. After Bargnani's jumper posted the Raptors to a 59-48 lead with 7:44 remaining, listless Atlanta scored the next six points to cut the advantage to three.

The Raptors were held to 25-percent (6-for-24) shooting from the field in the third quarter, something that Atlanta's defensive-minded coach Mike Woodson was proud of.

"We are 20-5 when we hold teams to less than 100 points and 4-11 when we don't," Woodson said. "So defense needs to be out main focus. We tend to do well when we play defense."

Atlanta scored 14 of the first 19 points in the fourth to take a 76-69 lead on a 3-pointer by Ronald Murray with 7:07 remaining. But Toronto scored six straight points to close the gap to one on Bosh's putback bucket just over a minute later.