Toronto Raptors Vs. Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson's Season-High 37 Points Post Hawks To 100-87 Win

The Atlanta Hawks will take on a weary Toronto Raptors team on Wednesday night at Philips Arena. It took Toronto three days to flee Snowacolypse 2011, Part 4. They were stranded in Indianapolis.

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Toronto Raptors Vs. Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson's Season-High 37 Points Post Hawks To 100-87 Win

Joe Johnson was in the zone. So were the rest of the Atlanta Hawks.

Johnson poured in a season-high 37 points and Josh Smith poured in 18 points and grabbed 11 boards, leading the Hawks to a 100-87 demolition of the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night at Philips Arena.

Al Horford and Maurice Evans had 12 points each for Atlanta, which dished 30 assists on 42 field goals.

"I think the chemistry is great," Johnson told the team's TV broadcast after the game. "We're moving the ball and getting good looks. I'm just trying to be aggressive and make plays."

Johnson was on fire for the Hawks in the month of January. The Atlanta forward's 26.0 points per game and 4.8 assist per game average for the month should gain Johnson considerable consideration for the NBA Player of the Month award.

It was a bit like Groundhog Day in Johnson's first game in February, which coincidentally coincided with the annual appearance of Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania.

Johnson had no problem shredding a tired and weary Raptors defense, connecting on 15-of-21 shots from the field, including five 3-pointers. He also dished eight assists in the contest, which but for an early Toronto run in the third quarter was all Atlanta.

The Hawks posted a 54-45 lead at the break behind 19 points from Johnson. And much like in their game in Dallas on Saturday, they coughed up a second half lead as Toronto responded with 10 unanswered points to start the third quarter.

But unlike against the Dallas Mavericks, when a Mavericks fourth quarter run went unanswered, the Hawks were more than ready for the challenge in this one. Mike Bibby drained a 3-pointer to post Atlanta to a 57-55 lead with 8:40 left in the frame and the Hawks never looked back.

A two-point lead quickly turned into double-digits, which culminated in a contest where Johnson & Co. were finally able to watch the end of it sitting on Atlanta's bench. The Hawks simply had their way with a Raptors team that didn't make it into Atlanta until mid-morning.

Toronto, which was stranded for three days in Indianapolis due to the latest "Snowacolypse 2011" weather event, simply couldn't keep up with a Hawks team that was able to play inside, outside and all around the floor.

"We were just making the extra pass," Smith said. "We were able to do whatever it took to get open looks. We were finding guys. Whenever we play unselfish like that that's what makes it look easy. It's fun to be a part of and it's fun to watch."

That is -- fun to watch -- unless you're a Raptors fan.

Atlanta has had its way with Toronto this season, sweeping them in the season series for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign. They also helped the Raptors to their 13th straight loss -- matching a losing stretch that franchise has not seen in nearly nine years.

Amir Johnson had 20 points and 14 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan added 16 for Toronto, which made just one shot from behind the 3-point line.


Toronto Raptors Vs. Atlanta Hawks: Atlanta Leads 54-45 At Half Behind 19 Points From Joe Johnson

Inside, outside all around the floor. That's exactly how the Atlanta Hawks are taking advantage of the way too small and definitely road weary Toronto Raptors at Philips Arena.

The Raptors match up terribly against the Hawks and through the first 24 minutes of this one, you have a feeling it's just a matter of when Atlanta chooses to make that decisive run to put this one away.  Atlanta has had one of its more well-balanced halves in a while and took a 54-45 lead over Toronto into the locker room.

Al Horford and Josh Smith are scoring inside.  Jamal Crawford has seven off the bench and Joe Johnson is just simply everywhere.  Johnson has 12 points. He's has 19 points, is 8-for-10 from the field, including three 3-pointers. When the Atlanta forward is not shooting them, he's dishing them.  Johnson has six of Atlanta's 17 assists on the half.

Smith and Horford have 12 each for the Hawks, who are shooting 57-percent (24-for-42) from the field.

Amir Johnson has 12 to lead the Raptors, who didn't get into Atlanta until this morning due to a snowstorm in Indianapolis.


Toronto Raptors Vs. Atlanta Hawks: Raptors Escape Indianapolis, Game On!

There will be a basketball game tonight at Philips Arena after all.  The Toronto Raptors finally managed to escape from Indianapolis and make it to Atlanta in time for Wednesday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

The third time was the charm for the team's charter (Air Canada Flight No. 7045), which took off from Indy at 9:25 a.m. and landed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport just over an hour later.

The Raptors have tried to leave Indiana's capital city for three days, but the winter megastorm that has gripped a large swath of the country from Texas to Maine, prevented the team's plane from getting off of the ground.  Toronto originally tried to flee right after the team's 104-93 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, but the plane was already encased in ice by the time the team got to the airport and the flight had to be scrubbed.

Airport crews tried to ready the Airbus 320 the next day, but faced with a shortage of deicing equipment and deteriorating conditions at the airport, that flight was scrubbed after nearly five hours.  With the worst of the winter storm behind them, the Raptors were finally able to leave early Wednesday morning.

Mother Nature added another monkey wrench into what has been a miserable season thus far for the Raptors. Toronto's beleaguered basketball team is in the midst of a tailspin and is looking to avoid its first 13 game losing streak in almost nine years.

The Hawks face a Toronto team that has dropped eight straight on the highway and that has surrendered 100 points or more over their last eight games.

Atlanta is looking for its sixth straight home win over Toronto at Philips Arena. They are coming off of a 102-91 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the second of another set of back-to-back games on Saturday night in Texas.  The Hawks played with the Mavs through three periods before tiring in the fourth quarter.

Joe Johnson had 27 points for Atlanta, which missed 11 of 15 shots in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks have won nine of their last 11 over the Raptors -- including the first two matchups this season.  They look to sweep the season set from the Raptors for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

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