Johnson has 18, Hawks drop Wizards, 101-83
(AP Photo/John Amis)
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) Through two games, the Atlanta Hawks have not trailed, they've displayed impressive scoring balance and they've won in back-to-back days by a combined margin of 54 points.
If the Hawks want to make their coach happy, they can add better shutdown defense to the mix.
Joe Johnson led six players in double figures with 18 points and the Hawks beat the Washington Wizards 101-83 on Wednesday night.
The win in the Hawks' home opener came one day after a runaway 106-70 win at New Jersey.
"They've got so much energy," said Washington's John Wall. "All they did was attack, attack, attack. They were just making their shots."
The Hawks scored the first 11 points, made their first five 3-pointers and kept the lead in double figures for all but the first 2 minutes of the second half.
The Hawks have made it to the second round of three straight Eastern Conference playoffs. Coach Larry Drew knows his team isn't being mentioned with Miami, Chicago and Boston as the teams to watch in the conference this season.
"We're hoping we can become a team that's mentioned with some of the other teams," Drew said.
Drew said his team must keep working on defense to put teams away late in games.
"There were parts of the game tonight where we lacked defensive intensity," Drew said. "I thought we had opportunities to really put that team away. ... I didn't feel we had a total grip of the game even when we got up by 20."
The Hawks have had six players score in double figures in each of their two wins. Tracy McGrady, an offseason addition, had 11 points off the bench to join Atlanta's five starters in double figures.
"We've got some guys capable of scoring and we're doing a great job of sharing the ball," McGrady said. "That being said, we want to be known as a great defensive team."
Marvin Williams, playing with more confidence following offseason back surgery, scored 17 points and had eight rebounds. Josh Smith had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Al Horford added another double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
"We're a team that's trying to learn on the fly," McGrady said. "We didn't have that long of a preseason, but it seems like it's working pretty well for us."
"We're searching," said Washington coach Flip Saunders. "Our main group is not performing well together at this time.
"We did some positive things but you can't get off to this kind of a start."
Washington's Andray Blatche, who complained after the Wizards' season-opening loss to New Jersey that he needed the ball more often in the paint, had only four points while shooting 2 of 13.
Overall, the Wizards made 30 of 77 shots (39 percent).
"We've just got to find some chemistry," Wall said. "We do it in practice but practice doesn't count."
The Hawks led 85-64 after three quarters before missing their first 11 shots from the field in the final period to allow Washington to cut into the lead.
Johnson's third 3-pointer gave Atlanta a 19-4 lead. Jeff Teague left the game with two fouls with about 6 minutes left in the opening quarter, and Wall immediately started a hot scoring streak against Hawks backup point guard Jannero Pargo.
Wall and Young combined for 18 straight points for the Wizards, who cut Atlanta's lead to 35-33 early in the second period. The Hawks closed the half with a 20-9 run for a 55-42 halftime lead.
NOTES: Shaquille O'Neal, now working as an analyst for the Atlanta-based TNT's NBA telecasts, had a front-row seat. ... Wizards G-F Maurice Evans did not dress after having his knee drained. ... Wizards rookie F Jan Vesely did not travel with the team to Atlanta. Vesely, already out with a sore right hip, has the flu. ... The Hawks took a 45-32 advantage in rebounds.
Updated December 28, 2011