ATLANTA (AP) – Joe Johnson scored 31 points and the Atlanta Hawks overcame Orlando’s size advantage to beat the Magic 95-82 Sunday.

The Hawks (2-1) have a winning record after three games for the first time since the 2002-03 season. Orlando (1-2) recorded only eight assists, matching a franchise-low, as it lost its first road game of the season.

Atlanta point guard Speedy Claxton is still returning to playing shape after missing most of the preseason with a broken hand, and that has prevented the Hawks from maintaining their up-tempo style for extended stretches. Even so, the Hawks started fast in building an early lead.

Zaza Pachulia scored 17 points and Josh Smith added 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Hawks won their second straight home game.

Carlos Arroyo returned after missing one game with a strained right hamstring to lead Orlando with 22 points, including 13 in the final quarter. Arroyo also led Orlando with three assists. Grant Hill added 14 points.

The Hawks led 46-35 at halftime after holding Orlando to 11 points in the opening period.

Orlando’s superior size began to wear on the Hawks in the third period. Dwight Howard went to the free-throw line on three straight possessions after he drew two fouls on Shelden Williams, forcing the rookie to the bench with four fouls, and another on Smith.

The Magic continued to push the ball inside. Following a three-point play by Tony Battie, a basket by Hedo Turkoglu with 6:24 left in the quarter pulled Orlando to a 50-50 tie.

Orlando pulled to within 77-73 before Josh Childress scored on consecutive possessions, followed by another set of back-to-back baskets by Johnson for an 85-73 lead.

The Magic’s frustration showed when Howard was called for his fifth foul on Pachulia with 1:35 left. Howard then drew a technical foul for slapping the ball at Pachulia following the call.

Howard was held to 11 points and eight rebounds after averaging 20.5 points and 10 rebounds in the first two games.

Notes: Orlando also recorded only eight assists at Golden State on Nov. 16, 2002. … Williams was 0-for-9 from the field for the season before banking in a shot over Darko Milicic with 1:17 left in the first half for his first career field goal. … The Hawks’ other rookie, F Solomon Jones, scored the first six points of his career.

AP-ES-11-05-06 1654EST


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