Hawks soar past Bucks
Johnson scored 14 of his season-high 28 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Hawks over the Milwaukee Bucks, 97-92, on Monday night.
Trailing by four to start the fourth, the Bucks chipped away and caught the Hawks on a three-pointer by Brandon Jennings, a free throw by Ersan Ilyasova and two from Mike Dunleavy that gave Milwaukee a 74-73 lead with 8:21 left.
“When they took the lead in the fourth quarter, it was a chance for us to see what we were made of,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said of the Bucks’ last gasp. “Our guys preserved.”
The Hawks never let the lead get past four before Johnson led them back.
“I was just trying to pick my spots,” he said. “It was a tough first three quarters for me. In the fourth, I didn’t want to stop being aggressive and I wanted to take what the defense gave me.”
His long jumper tied it at 84 and then his next two shots from in close pushed the lead to three. Drew Gooden hit a three-pointer from deep in the corner, but Josh Smith answered with a three that gave Atlanta the lead for good.
Drew said he knew he could depend on Johnson to get the job done.
“He has been money,” he said. “He’s a guy we rely on a lot particular in those situations. He was really in a rhythm.”
Johnson scored just four points in the first on 2-of-9 shooting. In the third, he started to find his stride, scoring 10 points.
Smith’s three with under a minute to go was key, too.
The Hawks whipped the pass around the arc before it found Smith, who calmly hit the shot.
Bucks coach Scott Skiles said that his team didn’t cover real well on that play.
“We broke down a little bit, but Joe puts the pressure on you,” he said. “He collapses the defense and he can see people. He made a nice pass out. (Jeff) Teague made a nice play, and Josh knocked it down.”
Jennings had 21 points and 11 assists to lead Milwaukee, and Dunleavy added a season-high 17 points.
Zaza Pachulia grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds for Atlanta.
Andrew Bogut had six points and 12 rebounds, and Gooden added 13 points for Milwaukee, which hoped to build on the momentum of two big victories on the road.
The Bucks, who started 0-8 away from home, won 100-86 at New York on Friday and then 91-82 at Miami on Sunday despite shooting 35 percent.