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Johnson leads Hawks over Cavs 103-102 in OT

Cleveland Cavaliers' Anthony Parker, right, shoots against Atlanta Hawks' Kirk Hinrich during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Atlanta. Cleveland Cavaliers' Anthony Parker, right, shoots against Atlanta Hawks' Kirk Hinrich during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
By Paul Newberry
AP Sports Writer / March 21, 2012
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ATLANTA—Joe Johnson hit a tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation and knocked down a baseline jumper with 10 seconds left in overtime, giving the Atlanta Hawks a 103-102 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

The Hawks rallied from 16 points down early on and a six-point deficit in OT, pulling even on Johnson's third trey of the night and a three-point play by Josh Smith, who led Atlanta with 32 points and 17 rebounds.

Cleveland reclaimed the lead when Tristan Thompson made one of two free throws. After a timeout, the Hawks went to Johnson, who spun away from Kyrie Irving and made the shot over Alonzo Gee.

Cleveland had two shots at the end. Irving missed and Gee botched a follow from right underneath the hoop.

Johnson, who wasn't a factor much of the game, rallied to finish with 22 points. Irving nearly had a triple double for the Cavaliers, scoring 29 points to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists. Antawn Jamison added 23 points.

The fourth quarter was sloppy, but Irving and Johnson provided plenty of thrills in the closing seconds.

First, with Cleveland clinging to an 89-88 lead and a difference of about 2 seconds between the shot clock and the game clock, Irving dribbled the clock down near midcourt, then did a complete spin to get away from Kirk Hinrich and burst toward the basket. He flipped in the layup, despite a bump from the late-arriving Hinrich that wasn't called with 5.4 seconds left.

The Hawks had one final chance, and they had to have a 3. Johnson got a pick from Zaza Pachulia, broke free at the top of the arc and got off the shot over the outstretched left arm of Anthony Parker, flying out in a desperate bid to distract the shooter. No chance. Johnson hit nothing but net, the ball clearing the rim as the red light went off.

A clear path foul on Hinrich helped the Cavaliers push to a 101-95 lead with just 1:27 remaining in the extra period. Back came the injury-plagued but resilient Hawks, playing their third straight game with only 10 available bodies.

Johnson made the 3 right off a timeout, Jamison missed for Cleveland and the Hawks took off the other way. Smith appeared to drag his pivot foot a bit as he pulled up, but it wasn't called. Instead, he made the shot and drew the foul on Jamison, leading to a three-point play that tied it at 101.

Pachulia missed a wide-open lay-in after Smith zipped a pinpoint pass to the big center, but all was forgiven when Irving's bank shot was a little too strong, and Gee flew in but left the follow was short despite a look that was just about as easy as Pachulia's.

Cleveland started like it was going to blow the Hawks right out of their own building. The Cavaliers made eight of their first nine shots, including three from outside the arc, and jumped out to a double-digit lead before the game was 6 minutes old.

Irving was knocking down shots or setting up his teammates, and Atlanta's frustration boiled over when Smith griped about a call a little too vehemently, drawing a technical foul. The Cavaliers led 36-21 at the end of the first quarter and had their biggest edge, 42-26, when Omri Casspi soared through the lane for a thunderous dunk with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half.

From there until halftime, it was all Hawks.

The Cavaliers got sloppy with the ball and the bounces started going Atlanta's way. Smith threw an errant pass trying to finish off a fast break, but it bounced off a Cleveland player and right into the hands of Pachulia, who laid it in.

For the most part, though, the Hawks simply outhustled the Cavaliers -- led by an unlikely spark from the far end of the bench, 37-year-old Jerry Stackhouse. Barely used most of the season, he came in with 3:46 left in the period and the Hawks still down 48-40. Right off the bat, he doled out a pass to Teague for a layup, then scored eight points of his own to amazingly send Atlanta to the locker room with the lead, 54-53.

Stackhouse connected on a couple of 3-pointers, sandwiched around a dunk that showed he still has a little bounce in those old legs. He trotted off the court at halftime breathing heavy but savoring chants of "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!"

Notes: G Willie Green returned for the Hawks after missing 10 games with a hamstring injury, but that was negated by the absence of F Ivan Johnson, who missed the game to be at the birth of his child in Texas. ... Cleveland was missing G Daniel Gibson, who sat out with a sprained left ankle and remains day to day.

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