Johnson scores 36 to lead Hawks to 102-96 win over Boston

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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The Atlanta Hawks know they need to get through the elite of the NBA's Eastern Conference to have a chance at a championship. They've figured out how to beat at least one of those teams.
Joe Johnson scored 36 points Monday as the Hawks won their third straight game over the Atlantic Division leading Boston Celtics, 102-96.
"In order to get to where we're trying to go in this league, we've got to go through Orlando, Boston and Cleveland," Johnson said. "We've been pretty successful against Boston this year, but we've just got to try to get some wins down the stretch."
The Hawks were helped by three quick technical fouls by Boston's coaching staff.
Hours after scratching Rasheed Wallace from the lineup, Celtics coach Doc Rivers did a fair impersonation of the volatile forward by drawing two quick technicals and an early exit. A third "T" - on soft-spoken assistant Armond Hill - handed the Hawks a four-point play and helped whittle away a 10-point deficit.
"I think it started with the technicals," said Jamal Crawford, who made the three free foul shots on his way to 17 points in the game. "We got some free throws and easy points. Seeing the ball go through the basket gives you confidence."
The Celtics have lost only 10 games all season and three have been to Atlanta, which had lost seven straight to Boston coming into the season.
Elsewhere in the NBA it was: Indiana 105 Toronto 101; Philadelphia 96 New Orleans 92; Chicago 120 Detroit 87; Oklahoma City 106 New York 88; Utah 118 Miami 89; Phoenix 105 Milwaukee 101; Denver 105 Minnesota 94; and Cleveland 117 Golden State 114.
At Boston, Al Horford had nine points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta, and Crawford scored the last six of the game. Mike Bibby had just five points and two assists in 18 minutes for the Hawks.
Rajon Rondo had 26 points and seven assists for Boston.
Boston led by 14 points early in the second quarter and had a 67-57 lead with 6:16 left in the third when Glen (Big Baby) Davis was called for a flagrant foul for riding Marvin Williams away from the basket on a fast break. Rivers was irate, getting the second technical just a few seconds after the first when he didn't stop yelling at referee Bennett Salvatore.
Rivers was automatically ejected.
"That's always on me. I don't think I should ever get thrown out," said Rivers, who was last ejected on March 17 against Chicago. "I just hate getting techs. I've really worked this year at reeling myself in, because I thought we had to with the guys we have."
Davis denied fouling Williams on purpose.
"I'm a big guy and it felt like I didn't intentionally do it," he said. "When I was coming down, I tried to hold him from falling. But the refs made a decision and I can't get mad and upset."
Rivers was barely off the bench when Hill was also given a "T." Crawford made three free throws, then Williams hit one of two for the original foul to cut the deficit to six points.
Crawford hit a three-pointer to make it 75-75 in the final minute of the third quarter - the first tie since the first quarter. Boston opened an 84-77 lead, but Johnson hit a three-pointer followed by a fastbreak layup and, after the teams traded a few misses, made another basket to tie it with 7:26 left.
It was 96-96 after a three-point play by Davis with 2:33 left before Crawford was fouled attempting a three-pointer; he hit two of three foul shots. Boston's Ray Allen missed a three-pointer, then Crawford drove to the basket to make it 100-96. Allen missed a foul-line jumper before Crawford hit a long two-pointer to clinch it.
Wallace, the most ejected player in the NBA since 1992, was a late scratch with a sore left forefoot. His loss was even more damaging because he had been starting for Kevin Garnett since he hyperextended his right knee on Dec. 28.
Rivers said Monday that Wallace could be out a week. Garnett could be back in 10 days.
"He got to start working out today for the first time," Rivers said. "Now it's just a conditioning thing. We want to make sure he gets strong and back in shape because he literally hasn't done anything. We figure 10 days to two weeks, that's what it'll take."
Pacers 105 Raptors 101
At Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 23 points and Indiana overcame a 23-point deficit to beat Toronto.
76ers 96 Hornets 92
At Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand scored 18 points each and Allen Iverson added 16 as the 76ers snapped a four-game home losing streak.
Bulls 120 Pistons 87
At Chicago, Luol Deng scored 27 points on 13-of-18 shooting and the Bulls handed Detroit its 13th consecutive loss.
Thunder 106 Knicks 88
At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had 30 points and the Thunder won for the eighth time in the last 10 games.
Jazz 118 Heat 89
At Salt Lake City, Deron Williams had 23 points and 10 assists and Carlos Boozer finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds as Utah beat Miami for the first time in more than two years.
Suns 105 Bucks 101
At Phoenix, Victoria's Steve Nash had 30 points and 11 assists to help the Suns rally after blowing a 24-point lead and beat Milwaukee for the 22nd consecutive time at home.
Nuggets 105 Timberwolves 94
At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points in his return from a knee injury, hitting consecutive three-pointers midway through the fourth quarter for the Nuggets.
Cavaliers 117 Warriors 114
At Oakland, Calif., LeBron James had 37 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds and Cleveland ran its winning streak against Golden State to four.

Organizations: Atlanta Hawks, NBA, Boston Celtics

Geographic location: Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta Orlando Oklahoma City Chicago Indianapolis Indiana Toronto Philadelphia Detroit Salt Lake City Utah Miami Phoenix Victoria Denver Oakland Golden

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