ATLANTA – Joe Johnson enjoyed another big scoring night at New York’s expense, finishing with 30 points as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Knicks 102-92 on Friday night.

Johnson averaged 28.8 points against the Knicks last season – his second-best mark against any team. He was 12-of-24 from the field and added eight assists to lead the Hawks to their first win.

Zaza Pachulia added 22 points and Josh Childress had 12 for the Hawks.

Eddy Curry led New York with 20 points, while Quentin Richardson added 19 but managed only three after picking up his fifth foul late in the third quarter. Nate Robinson scored all of his 15 points in the final quarter.

The Knicks, who won only eight road games last season, were denied a second straight road victory after winning their season-opener at Memphis.

The Hawks shot only 30.8 percent and trailed 22-21 after one quarter. Josh Smith scored on a left-handed jam following an alley-oop pass from Speedy Claxton to highlight a 10-0 run that gave Atlanta a 44-31 lead in the second quarter.

The Hawks tried to keep up the pressure, running on every possession possible, and led 47-37 at halftime.

New York, led by Curry and Richardson, recovered with a strong third quarter to trail 72-66. Johnson had 11 points in the quarter while going 3-of-5 from 3-point range to protect the lead.

Richardson drew his fifth foul with 49 seconds left in the third quarter and did not return until 6:01 was left in the game.

The Knicks pulled within 83-80 before the Hawks pushed the lead back to nine points.

Claxton scored on a drive, Pachulia made two free throws following a foul by Curry, and Smith drew an offensive foul to negate a basket by Curry. Johnson then hit a pull-up jumper to give Atlanta an 89-80 lead with 3:53 left.

Notes: Hawks rookie F Shelden Williams made his second straight start and had nine rebounds and two points. … F-C Lorenzen Wright made his season debut for Atlanta and had three points in 15 minutes. He was suspended for the Hawks’ opener for his role in an altercation in a preseason game. … G Steve Francis, 0-for-6 from the field while scoring only two points in the Knicks’ opener, was scoreless in the first half. He finally broke through with his first field goal at the 8:26 mark of the third quarter and finished with nine points and nine assists.

AP-ES-11-03-06 2223EST



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