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Listless Hawks get boost from Ivan Johnson in win over Magic

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- The 19-55 Orlando Magic are going nowhere. The 41-33 Atlanta Hawks are going to the playoffs. But based on the teams' intensity levels, figuring out which direction the two are heading would have been pretty difficult.

The Magic gave the Hawks fits Saturday night at Philips Arena before the Hawks were able to pull out a 97-88 win.

It took Ivan Johnson coming off the bench to supply the playoff intensity. He kept the Hawks in the game in the first half with his intense play and diving for loose balls. He also scored 10 of his season-high 21 points in the first half and for the night he pulled down 10 rebounds as well.

"He was the man tonight," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "The way he played on the inside and the way he went after loose balls."

"It was fun tonight. I got a lot of work in," Johnson said. "It gets me going real good [to get some early dunks]. It helped me stretch my legs out, I'm getting kind of old!"

Josh Smith had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks (41-33), who were without Al Horford (stomach illness) for the second straight game.

Smith's play, "his length, his athleticism, his ability to block shots, impressed Magic coach Jacque Vaughn.

Devin Harris managed only one point in the first half, and only four points through three quarters, but scored eight straight points early in the fourth quarter and finished with 17.

Jeff Teague added seven points and Kyle Korver kept alive his streak of consecutive games with at least one 3-point shot made -- it's up to 67 now -- and finished with eight points.

The Magic (19-55) scored the first two points of the game, fell quickly behind, then sprinted on a 9-0 run midway through the first quarter. Up 27-23 after the quarter, they just missed having a halftime lead when Smith grabbed a rebound and stuffed the ball in the basket at the buzzer to give the Hawks a one-point edge, 45-44.

Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Beno Udrih scored 20 points to go with seven rebounds. Maurice Harkless had 17 points and Tobias Harris chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"We're getting there," Harris said. "At the same time, we've got to try our hardest to close out these games."

DeQuan Jones scored eight points in the first 10 minutes of the game but he was tagged for two personal fouls, too, and didn't play the rest of the half. He added three more points in the last minute of the game for 11.

NOTES: The Hawks' Horford (stomach illness) and John Jenkins (mild concussion) were sent home before the game. They were the lucky ones. Zaza Pachulia will have surgery on his sore right Achilles on Wednesday. The procedure will be performed in Charlotte, N.C. Expected recovery time is approximately six months. Had he continued to play, and had the Achilles ruptured, Pachulia likely would have missed a full year. He tried treatment and rest for three weeks, hoping to be able to be back for the playoffs, but it wasn't possible after MRIs revealed a partial tear. "I learned so many details," Pachulia said of his many doctor visits. "I could be a doctor after my career!" Hawks coach Larry Drew assessed the impact of Pachulia's absence as the playoffs approach: "He plays a playoff style, the way he throws his body around. You can see how his style, it just fits playoff basketball." ... Harris, who had missed the last three games with a sore left foot, was back in the starting lineup. ... The Magic were without Jameer Nelson, who sustained a right ankle sprain in Friday's 97-92 home win over the Washington Wizards. ... Vucevic was back in the starting lineup after missing the last five games with illness and a mild concussion.

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