Hawks point guard Mike Bibby has been around the NBA long enough to know that for every time you're on the ugly side of a big shot, you'll have chances to take one to make up for it. He did just that Saturday night at Philips Arena, drilling a 28-footer with 1.5 seconds to play off a perfect feed from Joe Johnson to lift the Hawks to a 103-100 victory over Houston to push the Hawks' home win streak to six games.
Bibby had walked off the floor at Izod Center 24 hours earlier on the other side of that equation, after the Hawks fell victim to Vince Carter's 33-footer that snapped Atlanta's overall win streak at six games in a 93-91 overtime loss to the Nets. That made his game-winner Saturday that much sweeter.
"You play so many games, it's bound to happen anytime. But a win's a win, no matter how it comes," a straight-faced Bibby said from his locker after the game. "The idea is to win the game."
But he was dancing down the floor after his shot, getting in his signature trot before being mobbed by his teammates.
"You don't want to lose two in a row," Bibby said, declining to explain the dance. "We toughed it out and got the energy we needed at the end of the game."
And the Hawks (22-11) got the shot they were looking for at the end.
"Joe seamed it up," Bibby said. "It was a good pass. I was going to shoot it anyway. I told myself if I caught it I was going to shoot it. And there was enough space to get a good shot up."
The Rockets couldn't find any such luck on their final two possessions of what turned out to be a much closer game than might be expected with Rockets regulars Tracy McGrady, Ron Artest and Shane Battier all missing the game with injuries.
Rafer Alston drove to the basket with Josh Smith hounding him, and Alston lost the ball on the way up with the game tied at 100 and 20.8 seconds to play. Bibby grabbed the rebound, setting up his late-game heroics.
On the final possession of the game, Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks bounced a potential game-tying 3-pointer off the rim as time expired.
"I know how Houston felt tonight having walked off that floor [in New Jersey on Friday night]," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Bibby just stepped up and made a great shot. Joe made a great find, and [Bibby] was able to knock it down."
Perhaps even more important to Woodson was the resilience his team showed in gutting out the victory. He knew they were drained, physically and emotionally, after suffering their third loss this season to the Nets.
"It's only fair that we were on the other end this time," Hawks center Al Horford said. "I think it showed a lot from our team, after losing such a tough game [Friday night] and being able to bounce back here and get a home win."
The contributions came from everywhere.
Smith led the way with a season-high 29 points on 13-for-16 shooting from the floor, the Hawks needing each point to get by on this night without starting small forward Marvin Williams (shoulder strain) available.
Johnson had a season-high 14 assists to match his 14 points. Bibby finished with 13 points and was 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line. Horford had 10 points and six rebounds and Flip Murray (17 points and four rebounds) and Zaza Pachulia (10 and four) both turned in huge performances off the bench.
"That's the NBA for you," Johnson said. "Guys have to rally around each other on nights like this to get the job done."
NEXT FOR Hawks
* Who: vs. Magic
* When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
* TV; radio: SportSouth; 790 AM