Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 2/3

Game 1: Friday, February 3rd
Game 2: Sunday, March 19th
Game 3: Sunday, March 26th
Game 4: Monday, April 10th

Magic 94

(18-26, 6-15 away)

Hawks 96

(14-31, 10-14 home)

Coverage: FSS

7:00 PM ET, February 3, 2006

Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

1 2 3 4 T
ORL 29 21 24 2094
ATL 25 24 25 2296

Top Performers

Orlando: S. Francis 30 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast

Atlanta: J. Johnson 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 11 Ast

Johnson's late jumper lifts Hawks over Magic

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks have been claiming they are a better team than they have shown.

Slowly, their record is starting to support the claim.

Joe Johnson sank a jumper over DeShawn Stevenson with less than a second remaining to lift the Hawks over the Orlando Magic 96-94 Friday night.

Johnson's game-winning shot gave the Hawks their first three-game winning streak since late in the 2003-04 season.

"I didn't know if he was going to jump or not," Johnson said of Stevenson. "I was going to try to get a foul if he did."

Johnson, who finished with 23 points and 11 assists, dribbled inside the 3-point line and launched the high jumper with 0.7 left on the clock.

"Every time it was close like that, Joe stepped up big," Hawks forward Josh Smith said.

For a team which has had little to celebrate in recent seasons, a three-game winning streak is noteworthy.

"That's the first time we've won three in a row since I've been here," said Smith, a second-year player.

Actually, every player on the Hawks roster could make the same statement.

Since the Hawks last won three straight games -- April 9-12, 2004 -- general manager Billy Knight has completely overhauled the roster. No players on the current roster were with the team for the end of the 2003-04 season.

The Hawks hit bottom with only 13 wins last season, never winning back-to-back games. Atlanta (14-31) topped that total with Friday night's win.

With Atlanta leading 93-91, Orlando's Tony Battie was fouled by Tyronn Lue and Zaza Pachulia -- with Lue drawing the call. Battie shoved Pachulia, and Pachulia was called for a technical foul, drawing protest from Hawks coach Mike Woodson.

Hedo Turkoglu, who had 15 points, made the free throw for the technical foul, but Battie missed both free throws, leaving Atlanta with a 93-92 lead.

After Johnson missed a shot near the basket, Al Harrington rebounded the miss for Atlanta. Lue made one free throw with 19 seconds left for a 94-92 lead. Steve Francis then made two free throws with 11 seconds left to tie it.

Francis had 30 points and eight assists and Dwight Howard added 24 points and 16 rebounds for the Magic, who held a 45-43 rebounding edge but surrendered 20 offensive rebounds to the Hawks. Battie had nine points and 13 rebounds but made only one of four free throws.

"They were able to get the offensive rebounds," Francis said. "That killed us. They got second shots."

Harrington had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta, which recently moved past last-place Charlotte in the Southeast Division.

"This is not the end of it," Johnson said of the winning streak. "We want to keep adding to it and make the game fun."

Orlando has been going through a similar rebuilding process after a 21-win season in 2003-04. It improved to 36 wins last season but lost its fourth straight Friday night.

The Magic led only 50-49 at halftime despite shooting 55 percent from the field, compared to 41.5 percent for the Hawks.

There were six ties in the third quarter, the last at 74 at the end of the period. But Orlando went almost four minutes without scoring to open the final period as Atlanta took an 80-74 lead.

The Magic pulled even for the first tie of the final period at 86-all on an inside basket by Howard with 3:02 left. Smith and Johnson answered with three-point plays as Atlanta grabbed a 92-86 advantage with 2:09 left.

A basket by Francis cut the lead to 92-91 with 1:24 left.

Game notes

Orlando made only 18 of 31 free throws. ... Smith posted his second straight double-double -- and only his third of the season -- with 15 points and 10 rebounds. ... Hawks F Marvin Williams returned after missing one game with a sore left Achilles'. The rookie scored six points. ... The Magic, who used only seven players in a loss to the Clippers Wednesday night, used nine players in the opening quarter.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 94 96
FGM-FGA 37-73 (.507) 35-84 (.417)
3PM-3PA 2-3 (.667) 5-16 (.313)
FTM-FTA 18-31 (.581) 21-28 (.750)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-45 20-43
Assists 18 21
Turnovers 12 5
Steals 2 5
Blocks 6 6
Fast Break Points 7 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 23 (1/0)
Largest Lead 4 9

Top Performers

Steve Francis Francis
Points: 30
Reb: 4
Ast: 8
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Joe Johnson Johnson
Points: 23
Reb: 4
Ast: 11
Stl: 0
Blk: 0