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Johnson outshines Ford as Hawks edge Raptors

Nov 25, 2006 - 3:26 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Joe Johnson supplied the offense and Josh Smith took care of business on the other end.

Johnson scored 27 points and Smith added 11 and 11 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks snapped a four-game slide with a 97-93 triumph over the Toronto Raptors, who wasted a 19-point fourth quarter by T.J. Ford.

"I thought we got key stops at the end and key rebounds," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "That has been a thorn in our side the last four games."

Johnson was impressive in the first quarter, scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting as Atlanta took a 32-23 lead. He made 11-of-21 shots overall, including 3-of-7 on 3-pointers.

Reserve Salim Stoudamire converted a three-point play, then scored on a fast-break layup with just under 10 minutes remaining to give the Hawks a 77-65 advantage.

"They made a good run before the fourth quarter," Ford said. "It was a long basketball game. They came down and they executed and made shots."

Tyronn Lue drained a baseline jumper with the shot clock expiring to give Atlanta a 95-90 lead with 30 seconds left. After Ford's 3-pointer rattled in, Johnson split a pair of free throws.

"I missed so many shots, I've got to make one," said Lue, who was 6-of-16 from the field. "When you miss a lot of shots, you have to make one. I felt comfortable taking the big shot. That's what I've been doing since I've been here. I was able to get a big step over the 7-footer (Andrea Bargnani) and was able to knock it down."

Ford had a chance to bring the Raptors closer but missed an easy layup. Smith made 1-of-2 foul shots to seal the win.

Smith played stellar defense on Raptors All-Star forward Chris Bosh, who was held to a season-low 11 points. A native of nearby College Park, Smith finished with a season-high four blocks and two steals.

"We're a lot better team when Josh is around," Johnson said. "He put us over the hump."

"I think Atlanta did more of a good job controlling (me)," Bosh said. "They didn't give me a lot and made it tough to score."

Zaza Pachulia scored 18 points and Lue added 16 off the bench for Atlanta, which shot 48 percent (39-of-80).

Ford finished with 25 points and 12 assists for his fourth double-double for Toronto, which shot 44 percent (35-of-79) but remained winless in seven road games this season.

"I felt the team needed something so I just tried to be aggressive and knock down the shots I was taking," Ford said. "I try to get in to lane and put pressure on them, get fouled and make the shot. That is just the part of playing basketball - when your team is down you try to dig deep and try to take the game to your next level."

"He (Ford) had it going. A lot of layups," Lue said. "You make shot like that when you're rolling. He's very aggressive at the basket. That's what he does. He had a great game."

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