Hawks 108, Nets 84
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)
Crawford hit a 30-footer at the buzzer to cap his game-breaking, 15-point period and the Hawks ran away from the woeful New Jersey Nets, 108-84 on Tuesday night.
Crawford, the NBA scoring leader (17.5) among players who have not started a game, finished with 25 points in leading Atlanta to its third straight win and ninth in 12 games.
``It's a luxury we have on this team,'' center Al Horford said. ``We really don't take him for granted. He can come in and change games for us.''
That's exactly what Crawford did in the second quarter, when he hit 7-of-10 shots. Six of the baskets came in a quarter-closing, 19-5 spurt that gave Atlanta a 55-39 halftime lead.
``He's been solid like that all year off the bench for us,'' Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. ``We expect that out of him. He had that one little hot streak and they called a timeout. Then I ran three straight plays to him and he delivered. It was nice to see.''
Crawford capped his run with a nothing-but-net 3-pointer after he rushed the ball upcourt following a missed free throw by Brook Lopez with 5.8 seconds to go.
``This feels good,'' Crawford said. ``I think we're getting better. That's a team that's down right now, but you can't take anybody lightly. We didn't give them any chances, any life to think they could put together a run and come back. At this point in the season, we understand our roles and what we have to do.''
Marvin Williams added 15 points for the Hawks, who rolled while Johnson stayed home to rest his Achilles' tendinitis. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday. Horford finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Lopez had 21 points for the Nets, who lost for the 60th time in 67 games. New Jersey needs to win three times in its last 15 games to avoid tying or breaking the NBA mark for fewest wins (9) in a season, set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers.
``Today was a big letdown for us, we took a step back,'' Nets guard Courtney Lee said. ``We've been competitive on the road the last how many games have we played, but today was a big step back.''
Nets interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe said this was the first time in a while his team sagged.
``I just felt we didn't have our energy,'' he said.
New Jersey also didn't have its best player. Point guard Devin Harris missed the contest with an upper respiratory illness and the Nets did not have the depth to replace him in losing their fifth in a row.
Josh Boone had a season-high 13 points and a career-best 20 rebounds as New Jersey lost its 12th straight at home, extending the team mark. The 20 rebounds were the top total by a Net this season.
``He (Crawford) came off the bench and got hot very quickly,'' Boone said. ``That 3 at the buzzer in the second quarter was a big shot, a momentum shot.''
NOTES: Boone's previous rebound high was 17. ...The Hawks won all three games with New Jersey this season. ... Woodson was a member of the Nets when the team moved into the-then Brendan Byrne Arena (now Izod Center) for the 1981-82 season. He was traded in the opening weeks of the season. ... Hawks forward Joe Smith appeared in his 1,000th career game, becoming the 93rd player in NBA history to hit the milestone. ... Johnson's injury marked only the 15th game lost to injury this season for Atlanta, the lowest total in the league this season. Rookie Jeff Teague started for Johnson. ... Nets rookie Terrence Williams was called for a flagrant foul in the closing seconds trying to prevent a dunk by Maurice Evans.