Hawks 102, Pacers 92
The Hawks shot 50 percent from the field in a 102-92 win over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. Johnson entered the game averaging a team-best 20 points, but he shot just 4 for 12 from the field and finished with 11 points while Indiana's Danny Granger held him in check.
The Hawks found plenty of other options. Josh Smith had 25 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, Mike Bibby scored 16 points and Al Horford added 15 for the Hawks, who won their second straight after a four-game losing streak.
Perhaps Atlanta's most impressive statistics were their 26 assists and six players in double figures.
''It shows the maturity of the team,'' Horford said. ''I think that the deeper you are, the better team you are. Now, they have to consider that they don't know who's going to come out and have a big night for the Hawks.''
Johnson finished with five assists for the Hawks, who won for the fifth time in six road games.
''Everybody knows that Joe's the key guy on the offensive end because he's such a potent scorer,'' Atlanta coach Larry Drew said. ''When other guys are touching the ball and when other guys are getting looks, it makes you tough to defend. I think tonight we did a nice job of moving the basketball. When we play like that and defend on the other end, we become pretty hard to beat.''
Smith, known more as a shot blocker and rebounder, led the team in scoring for just the second time this season. He scored 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting in the second half to help the Hawks expand their 50-49 halftime lead.
''In the first half, I wasn't stepping into it, I was fading,'' he said. ''I made some corrections, and my teammates were able to find me, and I was able to knock down shots more.''
''We lost to a very good basketball team,'' Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. ''They have a lot of weapons. They played together and they're well-coached.''
Atlanta led 58-55 in the third quarter when Indiana's Josh McRoberts snagged an offensive rebound. Smith blocked McRoberts' dunk attempt, then Atlanta's Marvin Williams converted a three-point play at the other end. Smith made a 3-pointer on Atlanta's next possession to extend the Hawks' lead to 64-55 midway through the third quarter.
The Hawks took a 77-65 lead into the final quarter. One week after Indiana had a near-perfect 54-point third quarter against Denver, the Pacers shot 6 for 16 in the same period to fall behind by double digits.
''We came out with no energy and just didn't seem to be able to get in the groove,'' Dunleavy said.
Atlanta shot 56 percent in the third quarter and had eight assists on 10 baskets.
''The way we were sharing the ball was beautiful in the third,'' Smith said.
Indiana had two chances to cut Atlanta's lead to six or seven early in the fourth quarter, but T.J. Ford and Granger missed from in close on back-to-back possessions. After Granger's miss, Jamal Crawford drained a 3-pointer to push Atlanta's lead to 81-69.
The Pacers later trimmed their deficit to five on a layup by Ford, but the Hawks responded with a 7-0 run, including a three-point play by Johnson, to push the lead back out.
''We got the stops,'' Bibby said. ''We were kind of going back and forth in the first half. Then, we started getting stops and rebounding better, and we scored at the other end.''
Notes: Jeff Teague, an Indianapolis Pike High School graduate, hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first quarter. He finished with six points in 12 minutes. ... Hawks forward Pape Sy has not played this season because of a back injury. ... Indiana shot 52 percent in the first quarter. ... Hibbert entered the game as the league leader in blocks, while Smith was second. Hibbert had one on Tuesday.