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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.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.