Defense and Joe Johnson Give Atlanta Win Over Mavericks in Dallas

John Boller@jboll0327Correspondent IDecember 6, 2009

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 26:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks against the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on November 26, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks won in Dallas to snap their five-game loosing streak at American Airlines Center.

The 80-75 over the Mavericks is a great win for the Hawks, who were coming off of their second home loss of the season.

Atlanta (14-6) was led by their All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson. Johnson dropped 31 points against the Mavericks (14-7).

Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki did everything he could to keep the Mavericks in the game. Their All-Star power forward scored a game-high 32 points, but it wasn’t enough to comeback on the Hawks.

It was defense, defense, and defense that got Atlanta their 14th win of the season. They held the Mavericks to just 37.7 percent from the field, including only 3-for-16 in the final quarter.

The 75 points put up by the Mavericks were their fewest since a 102-74 loss at Cleveland on March 29, 2009. It was the fewest points that Dallas has scored at American Airlines Center since April 19, 2006, when they only got 71 at home against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The win over the Mavericks, gives Atlanta a 2-1 record now in December. However, the Hawks are just 6-4 in their last 10 and trail the Orlando Magic by two games in the Southeast.

The Hawks are the fourth seed in the East and cannot afford to slip up with the “Big Three” in the Eastern Conference rolling.

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Orlando, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics have combined for 16 wins in-a-row. The Cavaliers and the Celtics are 8-2 apiece in their last 10 games, while Orlando is 9-1.

Despite missing 20 consecutive field goals in the second quarter, the Hawks led 41-40 at halftime. Besides Nowitzki, Jason Terry was the only other Maverick to score in double figures. He had 17 points.

Both Josh Smith and Al Horford joined Johnson with double-digit points, scoring 12 and 11 points respectively.

Marvin Williams had a career-high in the game for the Hawks, pulling down 15 rebounds to make up for a dismal 1-of-7 from the field. After being dominated on the boards last Sunday against the Detroit Pistons, the Hawks dominated the Mavericks in the paint.

They out-rebounded Dallas 16-7 on the offensive end, leading to a 15-7 advantage in second chance points. Atlanta also forced the Mavericks into making 16 turnovers. The Hawks had just eight.

Atlanta also shot poorly from the field, meaning their defense and tenacity on the boards was the reason for getting the win in Big D.

Johnson’s 13 field goals were two more than the total field goals made by the rest of Atlanta’s starting five. As a team, the Hawks just made 32 field goals; meaning Johnson made 40 percent of Atlanta’s total shots.

He and teammate Zaza Pachulia were the only two Hawks to go perfect from the free-throw line. Johnson was 4-for-4 and Pachulia went 2-for-2.

The Hawks will return home Wednesday to play the Chicago Bulls.