Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks feel they can beat anyone right now, even the NBA’s top teams.
Johnson scored eight of his 35 points in overtime and the Hawks solved Portland’s defense in time to beat the Trail Blazers, 99-95, last night in Atlanta.
The Hawks, who won at Portland Nov. 3, swept the season series for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
Josh Smith had 20 points and 16 rebounds for Atlanta, which extended its winning streak to five with the victory in the matchup of division leaders. The Hawks’ streak also includes a win at Boston.
“The last two years being in the playoffs has put this team in a totally different light,’’ Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “It’s kind of nice sitting on the top of the division.’’
The Hawks snapped Portland’s six-game winning streak by rallying from deficits of 12 points in the third quarter and 9 points at the start of the fourth.
“We were able to fight them off,’’ Smith said. “Maybe three or four years ago we wouldn’t have gotten the win.’’
Rudy Fernandez led Portland with 19 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation.
Mavericks 115, Bucks 113 - Dirk Nowitzki hit a fallaway 18-footer as time expired in overtime to give visiting Dallas the victory and snap Milwaukee’s four-game winning streak.
With 3.1 seconds left, Nowitzki (32 points, 11 rebounds) caught a pass from Jason Kidd and launched a jumper over Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The ball rattled off the rim and backboard, dropping softly through the hoop as the backboard lights came on. The play was briefly reviewed, but counted.
Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings had 25 points and 8 assists in his first game since scoring 55 against the Warriors Saturday night.
Magic 97, Bobcats 91 - Rashard Lewis had 10 points in his first game back from a suspension as host Orlando handed Charlotte its fifth straight loss. Lewis looked rusty after serving a 10-game ban by the NBA for testing positive for an elevated testosterone level. The All-Star forward finally found his footing late, sparking a rally that moved the Magic in front for good.