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Hawks head to break on sour note

POSTED: February 24, 2008 5:01 a.m.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeff McInnis’ hook shot with 51.4 seconds left in overtime gave the Charlotte Bobcats a 100-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

Raymond Felton scored 22 points, Emeka Okafor had 20 points and 22 rebounds, Jason Richardson added 19 points and Jared Dudley 12 for the Bobcats, who overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Joe Johnson scored 23 points to lead five players in double figures for the Hawks, who entered the All-Star break with four consecutive losses. Tyronn Lue added 19 points, and Al Horford 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Atlanta led 51-39 at the half and went up by as many as 14 points early in the third quarter, but Charlotte fought back to tie it at 88 on a pair of free throws by Richardson with 2:46 left.

The Bobcats then went ahead twice, the last at 92-90 on another pair of free throws by Richardson with 6.8 seconds left in regulation. But the Hawks forced overtime when Anthony Johnson made two free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining.

Charlotte took a four-point lead early in the extra period, going up 96-92 on a pair of foul shots by Matt Carroll and a layup by Felton with 3:58 left. But back-to-back 3-pointers by Johnson and Lue put Atlanta back ahead 98-96 with 2:36 remaining.

Okafor tied it again with a pair of free throws with 1:46 left. After Horford missed a layup, McInnis drove the lane and dropped in a shot over him to put the Bobcats ahead to stay.

The Hawks twice had chances to send the game into a second overtime, but Williams lost control of the ball on a drive to the basket with 30 seconds left, and Johnson missed a runner in the lane with 2 seconds left.

Atlanta and Charlotte had two lead changes and five ties through most of the first quarter before the Hawks closed out the period with a 14-2 run.

Johnson kicked off the run with a jumper with 2:16 left to tie it at 17, and back-to-back 3-pointers by Lue put the Hawks up 29-19 at the end of the quarter.

The Bobcats managed to pull within seven points five times in the second quarter, the last at 40-33 on Dudley’s steal and layup with 4:59 remaining. But a 9-2 run pushed Atlanta’s lead to 49-35 — its biggest of the first half — with 2:31 left.

Notes: Law will spend the All-Star break in College Station, Texas, where his alma mater Texas A&M plans to honor him with “Acie Law Day” ceremonies during Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State.
Law, whose jersey will be hung from the rafters of Reed Arena during the ceremony, was the Aggies’ first All-American player, and led the program to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.



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