Sunday, March 23, 2008
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
ATLANTA - Joe Johnson scored 34 points, Mike Bibby had 20 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Orlando Magic 98-90 on Saturday night.
Josh Smith finished with 19 points for Atlanta, which took its sixth straight home victory against Orlando to move 21/2 games ahead of New Jersey for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Magic, who dropped to 22-2 on the road when entering the fourth quarter with a lead, had won seven of eight overall.
Bibby caused matchup problems for the Magic and had a game-high eight assists.
Dribbling from the perimeter into the top of the lane, Bibby drew Orlando center Dwight Howard and another defender toward him. Al Horford cut in behind Howard to catch Bibby's bounce pass and hit a runner that gave the Hawks a 91-85 lead with 2:04 remaining.
Johnson hit five of seven shots from the field in the third quarter, and finished off the win with two free throws in the final seconds.
Rashard Lewis gave the Magic their last lead with a 3-pointer that made it 76-74 midway through the fourth.
Hedo Turkoglu led Orlando with 18 points. Jameer Nelson had 16 points, and Howard finished with 16 rebounds.
The Magic are now 46-26, third-best in the East, and despite the loss, they still lead fourth-place Cleveland by five games.
Bibby, acquired in a trade last month with Sacramento, showed why the Hawks valued his experience at point guard.
His 19-foot jumper with 48.7 seconds remaining made it 93-87, but the play unfolded because Bibby worked so well with Johnson.