Harrington, Johnson lead Hawks past Pacers for second win

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Atlanta finally has a winning combination.

Al Harrington did the work inside, Joe Johnson hit key shots and

found open shooters, and the Hawks took advantage of the sluggish

Indiana Pacers on Friday night for a surprising 87-85 victory.

The Hawks won their second straight for the first time since

April 2004 and ended a seven-game road losing streak that dated to

last season.

"It's great for us to come in here and beat a team like this,"

Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "These last two games we haven't

cracked, and hopefully that's a sign of maturity."

Despite shooting 36 percent from the field, Atlanta (2-9) still

did enough to win. It outrebounded Indiana and repeatedly beat the

Pacers to loose balls.

Harrington finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, while

Johnson had 16 points -- including a key 3-pointer with 1:10 left to

give Atlanta an 82-81 lead. Johnson also had seven rebounds and

nine assists.

Most surprising, though, was Indiana's dreadful effort. The

Pacers (7-4) hardly resembled the team that routed Cleveland one

day earlier.

They turned the ball over routinely in the opening minutes,

spent most of the night playing catch-up and never really appeared

in sync. Their three-game winning streak ended against an opponent

that hadn't beaten the Pacers since March 22, 2003.

Jermaine O'Neal had 30 points and 10 rebounds, while Sarunas

Jasikevicius added 14 points and five assists for the Pacers.

Part of the explanation for the Pacers' problems was the loss of

Ron Artest, one of the NBA's best defenders and Indiana's top

scorer. He was deactivated before the game with a bruised right

wrist and is to have an MRI on Saturday.

Fred Jones replaced him in the lineup, and coach Rick Carlisle

moved Stephen Jackson to small forward -- an adjustment that didn't

work. Jackson was 4-of-15 from the field and never was a factor,

but Carlisle refused to blame the loss on Artest's absence.

"You knew there would be some kind of letdown after last night,

and not having Artest was a factor," Carlisle said. "But you

can't let it go the way it did."

How ugly was it?

On one first-half possession, Jackson was handed the ball on an

inbound play as he tied one shoe, and Atlanta knocked it from his

hands and out of bounds. When Jackson got the ball back, he was

tying his other shoe and nearly threw it away. That drew boos from

a crowd that was weary of Indiana's lazy shots and lack of emotion.

At halftime, O'Neal and Jackson jawed at each other. Neither

player elaborated on the confrontation, and Carlisle called it a

private team matter.

The Hawks didn't care.

They jumped to an early lead, then rallied after Indiana scored

10 straight points in the third quarter, including two free throws

from O'Neal that gave Indiana its first lead at 47-46 with 5:45


Salim Stoudamire's 3-pointer tied it at 51, and Josh Childress

followed that with a three-point play as Atlanta retook the lead


"You could tell they weren't playing with any energy tonight,"

Childress said. "It almost looked like they didn't want to play


Indiana appeared to right itself early in the fourth quarter

when Jasikevicius hit a 3 on the Pacers' opening possession to give

Indiana a 59-57 lead.

But the Hawks stayed close until Johnson's 3-pointer with 1:10

left gave Atlanta an 82-81 lead.

And when Tyronn Lue missed two free throws with 8.7 seconds

left, it appeared Indiana had one more chance. Instead, Johnson

grabbed the rebound, drew a foul and hit 1-of-2 free throws to make

it 87-85 with 7 seconds remaining.

Jasikevicius' 3 from the corner bounced off the rim as the

buzzer sounded.

"We never dug down, we never made a stand, we can't just show

up," Pacers forward Austin Croshere said.Game notes
Atlanta has now won five of its last 48 road games. ... The

Hawks' victory was their first in a non-overtime road game since

Dec. 10, 2004. ... The 85 points matched a Pacers' season low. ...

Atlanta finished with a 56-45 rebounding advantage. ... Indiana was

3-of-17 from 3-point range.