ATLANTA (AP) -- Charlie Villanueva is just a rookie, but even he
knew a road game at Atlanta was too good an opportunity to waste.
Villanueva scored 22 points, including the go-ahead basket with
2.5 seconds left, as Toronto ended a six-game losing streak with a
102-101 win over Atlanta Friday night in the matchup of the two
worst records in the league.
The teams brought a combined 3-27 record for a .100 winning
percentage to the game -- the worst percentage in NBA history for
opponents that have played at least 30 games combined, according to
the Elias Sports Bureau.
All Villanueva knew was this was an opportunity for the Raptors
to end their 0-7 road drought.
"This was a game we had to win," Villanueva said. "They were
struggling. We were struggling. We hadn't won on the road yet, and
this was our best chance."
Chris Bosh led Toronto with 23 points. Villanueva added 10
The Raptors led most of the game, but there were three ties in
the final 3 minutes.
Joe Johnson set a career-high with 34 points, but it wasn't
enough to keep Atlanta (2-13) from its fourth straight loss.
A tip-in by Al Harrington, who had 24 points, with 3:26 left
capped a 10-0 run that gave the Hawks a 90-89 lead -- their first
advantage since 2-1.
A three-point play by Bosh gave the Raptors a 96-93 lead, but
Johnson's third 3-pointer of the period tied the game at 96-all
with 1:35 left.
The Raptors were called for a shot-clock violation with 1:10
left, and Johnson's baseline jumper gave the Hawks a 98-96 lead.
Bosh scored on a short jumper over Zaza Pachulia with 42 seconds
left for a 98-98 tie.
Following a miss by Harrington, Toronto called a timeout with
17.7 seconds left.
Jose Calderon passed to an open Villanueva as the rookie drove
the lane past Harrington for the go-ahead layin with 2.5 seconds
"I went to set the screen and two guys were on Jose,"
Villanueva said. "I was wide open. I was a little surprised. I'm
glad to get it."
The Hawks' hopes to pull even ended when the officials ruled
Johnson stepped out of bounds after receiving a pass.
"The ref said it was, so I guess it was," Johnson said.
"We're a lot better than that team, especially at home. We got
down too early. Defensively, we didn't have enough down the
Hawks coach Mike Woodson said the blown defensive coverage on
Villanueva spoiled an otherwise strong effort.
"This kid is one of the worst free-throw shooters, and we let
him lay the ball up," Woodson said. "If he's at the rim, you have
to foul him and take your chances at the line, and we didn't do
As if encouraged by the knowledge they were playing the Hawks,
the Raptors said they remained calm in the final minutes instead of
playing tight, as they have in similar situations.
"We had no choice but to be loose," said Jalen Rose, who had
15 points. "Hopefully we can find a way to build on it."
After Villanueva's go-ahead basket, Morris Peterson added two
free throws, giving him 15 points.
The Raptors had six players score in double figures. Mike James
had 13 points and seven assists. Calderon had 10 points and six
In losing seven straight road games, Toronto allowed 105.3
points per game, but the struggling Hawks scored only 78 points per
game in their last three losses.
The Hawks' offensive struggles continued as they trailed 54-45
A 3-pointer by Peterson to open the second half gave Toronto a
57-45 lead, but the Hawks finally caught fire with a 14-2 run,
capped by a Josh Smith jumper, to pull even at 59-59 midway through
Rose then hit two 3-pointers in the final 4:05 of the third
period as the Raptors regained control with a 16-6 run for a 77-67
Toronto was the last NBA team to win a road game. ... The
Hawks assigned little-used guard Donta Smith to the Arkansas
RimRockers of the NBA Development League. Smith was a second-round
pick in 2004 who was caught in a logjam of players at shooting
guard. Smith did not play in the last eight games. ... Hawks G
Royal Ivey got cut in his mouth late in the first half but was able
to return in the second half.