ATLANTA — Joe Johnson’s 18-footer at the buzzer lifted the Atlanta Hawks to a 90-89 victory over the league-worst Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Minnesota, which lost its fifth straight to drop to 2-15, had a one-point lead after Marko Jaric’s laying with 2.2 seconds left.
However, after an Atlanta timeout, Johnson took the inbound pass at the top of the key and dribbled to his right past Timberwolves guard Sebastian Telfair and pulled up to shoot over Michael Doleac’s outstretched arms.
Despite having their reserves outscore Atlanta’s by 46 points, the Timberwolves lost for the 22nd time in 24 games overall since winning at New York last April 6.
Josh Smith had 28 points and seven blocked shots to lead Atlanta. Johnson added 21 points, and Marvin Williams finished with 20.
Minnesota rookie Corey Brewer had 18 rebounds, two more than Al Jefferson’s previous season high in a loss to Atlanta on Nov. 24.
Craig Smith scored 20 points to lead the Timberwolves, who trailed by 19 in the first quarter but took their first lead on Jaric’s layin with 1:45 left in the third.
Brewer’s putback early in the fourth quarter gave Minnesota its biggest lead, 69-61.
Jefferson, who had 17 points, was the only Timberwolves starter to score in double figures.
His last basket, an 18-footer with 1 minute remaining, made it 85-85.
Craig Smith and Jaric combined for 38 points in reserve roles.
The lead changed hands five times in the final 46.7 seconds, but neither team was up by more than one point.
After Johnson hit two free throws to put the Hawks ahead 86-85, Jaric drove past Marvin Williams for an 87-86 lead for Minnesota.
Josh Smith responded by banking in a 12-footer from the left side to make it 88-87 with 7.5 seconds remaining.
The Timberwolves were trying to avenge a Nov. 24 loss to Atlanta in which they led by 21 points.
Notes: Minnesota coach Randy Wittman missed his second straight game after undergoing back surgery.
Assistant coach Jerry Sichting is now 0-2 as Wittman’s acting replacement.
The Hawks have won six of seven against Minnesota, including five straight in Atlanta.