Johnson's 18 points lead Hawks over Bobcats 116-96

Published April 8, 2012 2:36AM (EDT)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Joe Johnson scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and eight Atlanta players scored in double digits in the Hawks' 116-96 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

The Hawks broke open the game in the third quarter by shooting 17 of 23 from the field while scoring a season-high 38 points. They won their third straight and remained in second place in the Southeast Division, ahead of the struggling Orlando Magic.

Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and 16 rebounds, while Jannero Pargo had 15 points and nine assists for the Hawks. Ivan Johnson added 17 points.

Corey Higgins, the son of Charlotte president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, scored a career-high 22 points for the Bobcats, who've lost 11 straight.

The Bobcats need to win three of their remaining 12 games to reach the 10-win plateau.

Atlanta (34-23) currently owns the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Hawks scored 56 points in the paint and outrebounded the Bobcats 42-31.

The Bobcats jumped out to a 23-19 lead in the first quarter behind nine early points from Byron Mullens, who carried over the momentum early on from his career-high, 31-point effort Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

But the Hawks began to take over in the second quarter, outscoring the Bobcats 29-13 to take a 12-point lead at halftime behind solid play off the bench from Pargo, Marvin Williams, Ivan Johnson and Willie Green. The reserves played so well that coach Larry Drew stuck with them for most of the second quarter.

The third quarter has been a trouble spot for the Bobcats all season and it stung them again.

The Hawks went on a 12-2 run to open the second half to quickly build a 22-point lead. They hit 11 of their first 12 shots from the field in the period, many of those on uncontested layups.

The Bobcats fought back to trim the lead to 12 in the fourth quarter, but couldn't close the gap any further.

NOTES: The Bobcats were without guards D.J. Augustin, and Reggie Williams, as well as forward Eduardo Najera. Najera had surgery Saturday to repair a frontal bone fracture and coach Paul Silas says he's not expected to play for the remainder of the season.


By Salon Staff

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