NEWS
01/31/2012 09:30 EST | Updated 04/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Joe Johnson scores 30 as Atlanta Hawks hammer Toronto Raptors 100-77

TORONTO - Joe Johnson was so dominant against the Toronto Raptors, he needed just three quarters to match his season high in scoring.

The Atlanta Hawks were so dominant they didn't need any of their starters in the fourth quarter.

Johnson scored 30 points as the Hawks cruised to a 100-77 victory over the Raptors on Tuesday.

"From a scorer's standpoint, you kind of look at how your first couple of baskets are," Johnson said. "I got two really easy baskets and that just gets you into a rhythm. I kept getting great looks."

Johnson scored his 30 points in slightly more than 30 minutes. He needed nearly 46 minutes to score 30 points last Friday in a victory at Detroit.

"I thought Joe Johnson did a heck of a job of taking over the game," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. "I thought he dominated the game.

"He did a heck of a job jumping up, a few times when we were in position defensively, had our hands up and he just rose up higher and made tough shots. That is what he does. That's why he's a superstar in this league and you have to tip your cap."

Johnson scored 27 points when the Hawks beat the Raptors 93-84 in Atlanta on Jan. 16. The Hawks (16-6) have defeated the Raptors (7-15) six games in a row, including three at Air Canada Centre. The teams meet twice more this season.

"When Joe is playing at that level and he's in a rhythm like that he's very tough to defend," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said. "What we try to do as much as we can is just try to put him in situations where he’s allowed to be himself but at the same time where he keeps other people involved."

Johnson shot 13-for-18 from the field on Tuesday including 3-for-5 from three-point range. Atlanta shot 51.3 per cent from the field while Toronto shot 37 per cent.

Tracy McGrady added 15 points coming off the bench for Atlanta while Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Teague each chipped in with 10 points.

Jerryd Bayless led the Raptors with 14 points while Ed Davis added 11 and Gary Forbes scored 10. DeMar DeRozan and James Johnson each added nine for Toronto.

Linas Kleiza chipped in with seven points while Jose Calderon had six points to go with nine assists.

The Raptors, returning from a 3-2 road trip, were again without their scoring leader Andrea Bargnani who did not play for the ninth time in the past 11 games because of a strained left calf.

Two of the Raptors victories on their trip came with Bargnani in the lineup. They did beat the New Jersey Nets on Sunday without their top offensive threat, but Atlanta is a much better team.

"Atlanta is definitely a tough matchup for any team," DeRozan said. "They got out to a great start in the second quarter. We should not have let that happen. That’s what definitely killed us."

The Hawks led 77-60 after three quarters and continued to pull away in the fourth quarter as the teams used liberal substitutions. McGrady scored seven of his points in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta took a 19-point advantage into third and the Raptors could pare only two points from that in the quarter. Johnson made an 18-foot pull-up jumper with 2.8 seconds left in the third to give him 30 points.

"He's a tough matchup to be that big at the two-guard position and do the things he can do," DeRozan said. "He's definitely tough for anybody to guard. The next time we face them we’ve got to do a better job containing him."

Johnson hit a 28-foot jumper with 1.9 seconds left in the first half to give Atlanta a 56-37 lead at the intermission. He led all scorers in the first half with 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting including 3-for-4 on three-point attempts.

"Joe Johnson is an amazing player and he was able to get some shots to go," said Bayless, who has been starting as the shooting guard beside point guard Calderon. "I'm playing the two so it's different. It’s tougher sometimes for me and Jose playing against two six-foot-eight wings. We just try to do the best we can."

Williams added 10 points in the first half for the Hawks, who shot 60 per cent from the field. Bayless led Toronto with 12 first-half points with Kleiza adding seven.

Bayless hit consecutive threes midway through the first quarter to pull the Raptors even at 14. But Johnson hit a three-pointer on a 25-foot jumper with 3.8 seconds left in the quarter to give Atlanta a 23-18 lead.

Notes: Attendance at Air Canada Centre was 16,117. Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic was among those in attendance. ... Leandro Barbosa returned Tuesday to score four points. He missed last Sunday's win at New Jersey because of a sore left ankle. ... The Raptors played 19 games in January, a franchise record for one month. Previously the most they had played in a month was 18 games in April 1999 as part of a 50-game schedule. ... Toronto visits Boston on Wednesday. ... Former Raptor McGrady was booed frequently as usual during Tuesday's game. ... Atlanta's Al Horford has missed the past 11 games with a torn left pectoral muscle that required surgery. ... Bargnani averaged 23.5 points in 13 games this season.