for this game

Hawks spot Bobcats big lead, comeback for win

Feb 7, 2009 - 4:39 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Charlotte Bobcats jumped to a big lead in their first home game since finishing a lengthy road trip, but Marvin Williams made sure the game ended the same way their trip did.

Williams scored 20 of his 29 points after halftime and the Atlanta Hawks overcame a 17-point deficit en route to a 102-97 win over the Bobcats on Friday.

Maurice Evans drained three of his five 3-pointers in the opening half to keep Atlanta close and a 17-5 run sparked a big third quarter as the Hawks outscored the Bobcats, 35-22, in the period.

"I thought in the second half we played extremely well," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "We had a big third quarter and it carried into the fourth. It was our defense that carried us in the second half."

Evans added 17 points - including 11 in the opening 24 minutes - Mike Bibby scored 15 and Flip Murray contributed 13 off the bench as Atlanta improved to 3-0 against Charlotte this season.

Josh Smith's driving layup gave the Hawks the lead for good, 84-82, with 9:14 left in the game and a 9-2 spurt gave the Hawks a 94-86 advantage as the Bobcats went nearly three minutes without scoring.

Williams went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final 5:07 to keep the Bobcats at bay, but they had a chance to tie in the final minute. Trailing 100-97, Shannon Brown threw away an inbounds pass. Charlotte got the ball back after Bibby's jumper missed everything, however Smith blocked Brown's driving layup to clinch the win.

"The kid (Brown) tried to make a play," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. "I don't know if he was aware that we didn't have a timeout. He's thinking of getting fouled. He tried to make a play; it's just one of those things."

Williams finished 18-of-20 from the line while grabbing seven rebounds for the Hawks, who were without Joe Johnson for the second straight game because of the flu.

"It's a huge win for us. Joe is such a big part of what we do," Woodson said. "The fact that he's home and resting gave guys that don't normally play much some great opportunities to step up and play."

Charlotte went 1-4 on a West Coast swing with double-digit losses to Portland, Denver and Utah to close out the trip. The lone win came in double-overtime against the Lakers, but cost the Bobcats Gerald Wallace, who suffered a collapsed lung and broken rib in the contest.

Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Bobcats in this one, but was limited to just three points after halftime. He recorded a double-double in the first half alone with 12 points and 10 rebounds and began a 13-0 run with a 3-point play early in the second quarter.

"We just fought back," Bibby said. "We wanted to make it tough on them like they were making it tough on us. In the second half, we gave them shots, which caused them to miss more while we were getting to the free throw line."

Cartier Martin and D.J. Augustin each drained three during the run and Martin capped it with a jumper for a 40-27 lead with 7:27 left in the half.

Martin signed a 10-day contract on January 29 and did nothing to discourage coach Larry Brown, collecting 11 points off the bench.

"I'm just getting comfortable and playing basketball. It's what I love to do," Martin said. "I feel comfortable with these guys now. I've got a feel (for) them and I think they've got a feel for me."

Charlotte led by as many as 17 in the first half but Evans' 3-pointer as time expired cut the deficit to 55-43 at the break.

After Raymond Felton opened the second half with a 3-pointer, pushing the lead to 58-43, Atlanta reeled off a 17-5 run behind a pair of long-range jumpers from Evans and another from Bibby to get back in the game.

"Overall, we had a great game," Felton said. "We played great defense, we played with energy, we fought until the end, but shots just didn't fall our way in the second half."

Raja Bell led the Bobcats with 17 points, but left the game early in the third quarter with a strained right groin and did not return.