Opening its eight-game homestand with a victory against one the league’s top teams was a great confidence boost for Atlanta.
With six straight losses and a retooled lineup, Charlotte hasn’t enjoyed much of that lately.
On Monday night, Atlanta will go for its third consecutive victory and seventh straight at Philips Arena as it hosts a Bobcats team that has dropped eight of nine on the road this season.
The Hawks (14-9), who last won seven in a row at home from Feb. 18-March 24, 1998, are coming off a 97-92 victory over Cleveland on Saturday night that broke the Cavaliers’ 11-game winning streak. Mike Bibby scored 24 points, and all five Atlanta starters reached double figures for the sixth time in eight games.
“I didn’t come to watch LeBron James,” said Bibby, who had 14 points, six assists and five rebounds in an 88-83 win over Charlotte on Nov. 21. “I came to play.”
So did fourth-year forward Marvin Williams. He scored 19 points, including three free throws in the final 18 seconds after Cleveland rallied from a 64-50 deficit with 5:11 left in the third. Williams had a season-high 22 points with 10 boards in the victory over Charlotte on Nov. 21.
“To come out and put up the fight we did, that shows a lot about the character of this team,” said Joe Johnson, who scored 17 and combined with Bibby for 18 of the Hawks’ 29 fourth-quarter points. “It was beautiful, seeing the guys step up and make plays. Mike is a go-to guy. A lot of times when I get double-teamed, he is open for a shot. It’s pick your poison.”
Johnson, who is scoring 22.9 points per game, is averaging 25.2 in 14 career games versus the Bobcats, and scored 30 in Atlanta’s win on Nov. 21.
While Johnson tries to lead Atlanta to its fourth straight home win against the Bobcats, Charlotte is looking for its first road victory since defeating Indiana 115-108 in overtime on Nov. 28.
In Saturday’s 90-86 loss to Detroit, coach Larry Brown inserted Boris Diaw and Raja Bell into the starting lineup in their first game since being acquired from Phoenix for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley on Wednesday.
But that didn’t work as the two still hadn’t practiced with their new teammates. The Bobcats (7-17) missed 14 of their first 19 shots and matched a franchise record with 10 turnovers in the first quarter.
“It mostly was because we didn’t know any of the plays,” said Diaw, who had seven points and nine rebounds. “We kind of slowed the team because of us. We didn’t know where to go.”
Diaw, a first-round pick by Atlanta in 2003, averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists against the Hawks in 2007-08.
Bell had four points and five boards in his Charlotte debut. He is averaging 11.2 points in his last five games in Atlanta.
After missing three games due to his grandmother’s death, Bobcats leading scorer Gerald Wallace just missed his fifth double-double of 2008-09 with 22 points and nine rebounds against the Pistons.
Wallace had 18 points and 15 rebounds in Charlotte’s last win in Atlanta— 96-75 on Jan. 19, 2007.
Rookie D.J. Augustin had 18 points off the bench against Detroit after starting the previous two games. He led Charlotte with 26 points and seven assists in the first game between the teams.