Who says that there's no fight left in these Atlanta Hawks down the stretch?
Joe Johnson had 34 points and Marvin Williams added 12 before he was ejected after a fourth quarter fracas, leading Atlanta to a 111-102 win over the New York Knicks on Friday night at Philips Arena.
Josh Smith added 24 and Al Horford had 19 and 14 boards for Atlanta, which rebounded after blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
"I thought Joe did a great job," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "He got into a rhythm really early. I believe he had seven or eight assists along with seven or eight rebounds. That's a big number for Joe. When he gets a high assists total -- everything over five -- chances are we're going to win the game."
By all accounts the Hawks were cruising in this one, leading by as many as 24 in the third quarter. But the pesky Knicks, who overcame a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Miami Heat on Thursday night, chipped away and chipped away at the cushion, cutting the edge to as little as five points down the stretch.
With the Knicks and their legion of fans at Philips Arena creating a buzz around the place, tempers boiled over with 43.7 seconds remaining.
After Atlanta came down with a key rebound to all but seal the win, Marvin Williams and New York forward Shawne Williams got tangled up a bit going down the court. Marvin Williams shoved Shawne Wiliams. Shawne Williams shoved back as the pair began jawing on the Hawks end of the floor. Shawne Williams threw a punch, which was followed by another by Marvin Williams -- who was finally held back by teammate Josh Smith.
A livid Marvin Williams was restrained by Hawks officials as he made his way to the Atlanta locker room. Shawne Williams stuck around for a bit while the refs reviewed the tape. Ultimately, both players were ejected.
"It got kind of chippy toward the end," Smith told the team's television broadcast afterward. "The crowd was into it, emotions were running high. Marvin's a great dude. It's only like the second time I saw that like that. He kind of just snapped. Hopefully, the NBA doesn't come down on him too hard."
Both Williams will likely be suspended by the league for the outburst. The NBA assesses an automatic suspension for throwing a punch. Marvin Williams will likely sit out Saturday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Atlanta dominated this one early, posting a 30-21 edge through one quarter behind nine points from former Knick Jamal Crawford. New York was ice cold from behind the 3-point line, missing all six tries in the first quarter.
They weren't much better in the second, either. The Knicks buried just 1-of-11 chances from behind the arc in the first 24 minutes of the contest and got to the line just twice in the first half as the Hawks surged to a 60-43 lead at the break.
Atlanta extended the lead to 86-62 on a 3-pointer by Johnson with 5:06 left in the third, but New York went on a 14-5 run to end the frame. Amare Stoudemire had nine points in the run, which got New York back into the game.
The Knicks closed to within five on Stoudemire's jumper with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter, but Smith answered with a 3-pointer to give Atlanta a 105-97 edge with 3:43 left. New York got no closer than six thereafter.
Stoudemire had 27 points and Raymond Felton added 21 points and dished 13 assists for the Knicks, who fell to 24-22 with the loss.