Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 10/30

Game 1: Saturday, October 30th
Game 2: Thursday, November 25th
Game 3: Saturday, February 5th
Game 4: Saturday, April 9th

Wizards 95

(0-2, 0-2 away)

Hawks 99

(3-0, 1-0 home)

    Coverage: SSN

    7:00 PM ET, October 30, 2010

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 27 13 30 2595
    ATL 18 26 26 2999

    Top Performers

    WSH: J. Wall 28 Pts, 5 Reb, 9 Ast

    Atl: A. Horford 21 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast

    Joe Johnson scores 14 in fourth quarter as Hawks nullify John Wall's 28

    Associated Press

    ATLANTA -- If there were any Hawks fans still mad at Joe Johnson after last season's playoffs, he took a big step toward patching things up Saturday night.

    Johnson scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead Atlanta to its third straight win, 99-95 over the Washington Wizards in the Hawks' home opener.

    Mindful of the booing he faced locally in a four-game sweep by Orlando last spring, Johnson went out of his way to praise the sellout crowd of 18,729.

    "It's great to see everybody come out and show their support," Johnson said. "We really appreciate that."

    Against the Magic, Johnson had a miserable series and ticked off Atlanta fans when he said after a Game 3 blowout that he didn't care if they "showed up or not." They did for the finale, booing Johnson all night in another lopsided loss.

    Some wondered if Johnson would return to Atlanta, but he quickly agreed to a maximum deal for some $124 million to keep together a team that has improved its record every year for the past five.

    After opening with wins at Memphis and Philadelphia, the Hawks provided the home fans with their first look at a team that features largely the same roster but a new motion offense under rookie coach Larry Drew.

    Not surprisingly playing on back-to-back nights, Atlanta got off to a sluggish start. Jamal Crawford and rest of the reserves sparked the team in the second quarter, then Johnson and the starters finished off the Wizards, who lost their 10th straight to the Hawks despite 28 points from rookie John Wall and 24 from Al Thornton.

    The game was tight all the way, but Johnson hit a huge 3-pointer with less than 3 1/2 minutes remaining. Trying to free himself from Thornton's tight defense, the Atlanta star went with both a crossover and behind-the-back dribble before simply taking one step back - behind the arc - and letting go a shot that hit nothing but net for an 89-84 lead.

    "Joe, man, he made some tough shots," Thornton said. "I guess that's why he's an All-Star and gets paid what he gets paid."

    The decisive blow came with less than 2 minutes to go. Al Horford slipped around the slightest of screens by Mike Bibby and Josh Smith spotted his teammate breaking toward the hoop. He delivered a perfect lob pass that Horford slammed home to make it 95-87.

    Horford flexed in front of the Hawks bench, while Smith took off down the court pumping his fist. Horford finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Smith also had 10 boards to go along with 12 points.

    Wall did his best to keep the Wizards in the game, scoring 10 in the final period and duly impressing the Hawks with his speed, athleticism and surprising strength.

    "I'm not going to have a great game every night," Wall said. "I hope people understand that."

    Johnson took over down the stretch, shrugging off a 5-of-15 performance in the first three quarters.

    "I'm a shooter," he said. "I've got to keep shooting."

    Even after finishing third in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks have been sort of the forgotten team in their own division with all the hype surrounding Miami's Big Three, defending champion Orlando's quest to keep the crown and Wall's arrival in Washington as the top overall pick.

    For now, it's Atlanta on top at 3-0. "We were the third seed last year for a reason," said Crawford, who scored 15 points. "But those other teams are getting the hype for a reason. I just hope we'll continue to shine under the radar -- and go into the playoffs the same way."

    With Thornton scoring 10 points in the opening period, the Wizards ripped off a 21-5 run to lead by 11 - the biggest margin for either team all night - before taking a 27-18 edge into the second quarter.

    Drew turned to his backups for some energy, sitting Horford and Marvin Williams the entire period and keeping Smith and Bibby on the bench until the 5:40 mark. Crawford scored eight points in the period, while Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia and Josh Powell also chipped in.

    Washington's JaVale McGee blocked seven shots, making some of them look ridiculously easy. But he picked up his fifth foul midway through the final period and wasn't much of a factor the rest of the way.

    "He's tough," Horford said. "With a guy like that, you have to go strong to the basket. That's what we did."

    Game notes

    Atlanta F Maurice Evans sat out after having his right knee drained on Friday. An MRI showed that swelling he's had was just part of the normal healing process after arthroscopic surgery over the summer. ... Washington activated rookie F Kevin Seraphin as a reward for playing well in practice. He didn't get into the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 99
    FGM-FGA 38-76 (.500) 34-81 (.420)
    3PM-3PA 4-12 (.333) 5-19 (.263)
    FTM-FTA 15-21 (.714) 26-30 (.867)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-34 13-43
    Assists 16 19
    Turnovers 18 17
    Steals 8 4
    Blocks 13 4
    Fast Break Points 22 19
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 22 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 11 9

    Top Performers

    John Wall Wall
    Points: 28
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Al Horford Horford
    Points: 21
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0