Hawks 112, Grizzlies 109
Larry Drew is looking for other Hawks players willing to take clutch shots as the team faces the possibility of being without Joe Johnson for at least a month.
Mike Bibby showed he's a candidate for that role.
Bibby hit three 3-pointers in the final 5 minutes, including an important shot after Memphis cut Atlanta's lead to one, and the Hawks beat the Grizzlies 112-109 on Wednesday night after learning Johnson will have elbow surgery.
''Tonight it was Mike Bibby who knocked the big shot down,'' Drew said.
Bibby made 4-of-5 3-point shots, and first-year coach Drew said he has noticed the veteran point guard's recent hot hand.
''I'm going to get more play calls to him,'' Drew said.
Al Horford scored 20 points to lead six Atlanta players in double figures, including a season-high 16 points off the bench by Josh Powell. The Hawks needed the depth to overcome the loss of Johnson, the team's four-time All-Star and top scorer.
''We knew we had to do it collectively,'' Horford said. ''Obviously we'll miss Joe. At the same time it's going to make us stronger as a team.''
Horford said the Hawks were told of Johnson's surgery, planned for Thursday in Pensacola, Fla., immediately before the game.
''It was tough,'' Horford said. ''We knew he was going to be out for tonight. We didn't know how serious it is.''
The Hawks have won four straight.
''It shows that we can handle adversity,'' said Jamal Crawford, who had 16 points and eight assists. ''Joe is our franchise player, and we can't wait to have him back. But for now, everybody else has to step up.''
Bibby had 15 points. His last 3, with 17 seconds remaining, came after Horford and Josh Smith grabbed offensive rebounds to extend a long possession.
''Man, we didn't get stops in time to stop Mike Bibby,'' said Zach Randolph, who had 19 points and 19 rebounds.
The Grizzlies were denied in their attempt for wins in back-to-back days after a 98-96 home victory over the Lakers on Tuesday. They have won four of their last six.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 23 points, including a 3-pointer and another basket in the final 10 seconds.
The Hawks announced at the start of the game Johnson will have arthroscopic surgery to remove a ''loose body'' from his right elbow. He is expected to be out four to six weeks.
An improbable layup by Mike Conley, with the ball dropping from the top of the backboard with 4:38 remaining, pulled the Grizzlies within 95-94. Bibby answered with a 3-pointer for Atlanta before drawing a charge on Conley seconds later.
Conley had 22 points. Randolph and Marc Gasol, with 16 points and 10 rebounds, had double-doubles for the Grizzlies.
''We played well enough to win the game but we weren't able to get it across,'' Conley said. ''But we are getting better. We're taking steps.''
Marvin Williams had 15 and Smith had 13 for Atlanta.
''They played just as if Joe Johnson was there, they just didn't feature anybody as much as Joe Johnson when he's there,'' said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.
Johnson will have arthroscopic surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews, to remove a ''loose body'' from his elbow.
Johnson said the elbow has caused discomfort ''off and on'' this season.
''It just got unbearable yesterday,'' Johnson told The Associated Press.
Maurice Evans, who started for Johnson, had nine points.
Notes: Johnson arrived shortly before the game and wore a suit as he sat on the bench. ... The 63 first-half points were a season high for Atlanta. The Hawks set another high with 33 assists for the game. ... Atlanta, which opened the season with a 119-104 win in Memphis on Oct. 27, swept the two-game season series. ... The Hawks have five straight home wins in the series. The Grizzlies' last win in Atlanta came on Nov. 12, 2005, and they are 3-13 all-time in Atlanta.