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Atlanta pulls away in the fourth quarter for a 115-99 win against the Warriors

POSTED: December 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.
John Bazemore | The Associated Press/

Atlanta Hawks' Marvin Williams dunks the ball Friday against the Golden State Warriors in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — Expectations are changing for the Atlanta Hawks, who won a game by 16 points and then said it wasn’t good enough.

Flip Murray scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Hawks beat the Golden State Warriors 115-99 on Friday night.

The Warriors fell to 3-13 on the road with their fifth straight loss overall, but they held slim leads at halftime and after three quarters. The Hawks finally pulled away with a 13-2 run early in the fourth quarter.

"I hate for games to be like that," said Joe Johnson, who had 19 points. "I just feel at some point we’ve got to execute and put teams away early."

Marvin Williams led Atlanta with 22 points.

"It took us three quarters to wake up," Williams said. "We woke up in time. We were able to open it up in the fourth quarter."

Murray led the fourth-quarter surge.

"We had to come out and play," Murray said of the Hawks’ backups. "That’s our job, to give a spark off the bench."

The Hawks led only 90-88 before their run. Two free throws by Josh Smith capped the run and gave the Hawks a 103-90 lead.

"I think we tend to play to the level of our competition sometimes," Johnson said. "We’ve got to learn how to play at a higher level every night."

Atlanta trailed 81-79 after three quarters but outscored Golden State 36-18 in the final period. A drive by Murray gave Atlanta its first lead of the final period at 83-82 and the Hawks kept the lead the rest of the game.

Missing injured top scorers Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson, the Warriors were led by Marco Belinelli’s career-high 27 points. Brandan Wright added a career-high 19 points but Jamal Crawford scored only six points on 3-for-15 shooting from the field.

After the game, Warriors coach Don Nelson said he is turning over control of his defense to assistant coaches Keith Smart and Sidney Moncrief.

"I’m not tough enough anymore," Nelson, 68, said. "I’m getting soft as I get older and I feel like I haven’t done a very good job defensively this year."

Nelson called Smart his "defensive coordinator" and Moncrief the "assistant defensive coordinator."

Crawford said players had not been told about the changes.

"This is the first I’ve heard of it," Crawford said. "I hope it works. ... We need to get better."

Belinelli, a second-year guard, scored a career-high 21 points at Indiana on Wednesday and almost matched the total in the first half. Belinelli scored 12 of the Warriors’ 21 first-quarter points and had 20 points in the first half.

Atlanta led 31-21 on 65.2 percent shooting in the first quarter and matched the big lead at 43-33 with six minutes left in the half. Golden State took the lead with a 17-2 run.

The Warriors led 54-52 at halftime and 81-79 after three quarters.

"I’m happy with the way we played, but the Hawks shut us down in the fourth quarter," Nelson said. "I think we got their attention. I think we did a lot of great things tonight, but some of our guys did not play well individually. I think Marco and Brandan Wright had their best games of the season. I’m very happy with both of their performances."

Andris Biedrins had 14 points and 15 rebounds for Golden State.Notes: Jackson was not in uniform after aggravating a left hand injury in Friday’s shootaround. Maggette missed his seventh straight game with a strained right hamstring. ... Rookie Robert Kurz made his second start for Jackson but did not score in 13 minutes. ... Smith and Al Horford each had 14 points for Atlanta.



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