ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Hawks were fortunate that they were at home and the opponent was the struggling Charlotte Bobcats.Joe Johnson scored 18 of his 28 points in the second half to lead the Hawks to an 83-79 victory over Charlotte on Monday night, extending the Bobcats' losing streak to seven.
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Al Horford added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta (15-9), which won its third straight and improved to 9-1 at home with six straight games at Philips Arena coming up.
"If we continue to take care of our home court, we can put ourselves in good position to get ahead of some of the teams in our division," Johnson said. "It's a big advantage (playing at home), especially when the crowd is up to it."
The Hawks never led until Horford's basket in the opening minute of the fourth quarter for a 70-68 lead. Atlanta outscored Charlotte 15-9 in the period, with the Bobcats shooting only 4-of-20.
"I think we took them a little for granted, coming off a big game like Cleveland," Johnson said of the Hawks' victory Saturday.
Boris Diaw led Charlotte (7-18) with a season-high 25 points. Raymond Felton added 15.
Atlanta snapped Cleveland's 11-game winning streak with a 97-92 victory on Saturday night. Next up is Boston on Wednesday night. The Celtics have won 15 straight and are 23-2 after beating Utah on Monday night.
"It's going to be fun," Johnson said.
"We weren't looking to the Celtics. They just happen to be the next team on our schedule," said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson.
Charlotte led 48-42 at the half behind 13 points from Diaw. The Bobcats led by nine points on several occasions, the last at 45-36 with 2:29 left before intermission. The Hawks, who never led in the opening 24 minutes, were 1-of-13 from 3-point range and finished 3-of-20 (15 percent).
Atlanta tied it at 68 on a basket by Horford with two seconds left in the third period. Johnson had 12 points in the period for the Hawks.
"We played well enough to win," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said.
"We had a bad ending in the third period and then we couldn't make a shot the last 15 minutes of the game. "We've lost a lot of games like this, in the fourth quarter. We've played well enough defensively to win the game. We just can't find ways to get the ball in the basket."
The Bobcats led 65-57 on a basket by Felton with 3:17 left in the third period, but only scored one basket in an eight-minute span - a 3-pointer by D.J. Augustin - until Diaw scored with 7:16 left in the game and trailed 70-64.
Johnson led the Hawks' 15-3 run that gave Atlanta a 74-68 lead with 7:45 left, scoring seven points.
Diaw and Raja Bell were acquired from Phoenix for Bobcats top scorer Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley last week.
Notes: Bobcats leading scorer Gerald Wallace, who missed three games last week following the death of his grandmother, played Saturday and scored 22 points. He was in the starting lineup against Atlanta. His father died last Thursday. Services are scheduled for this Thursday.