CLEVELAND - No Joe Johnson, no problem for the Atlanta Hawks.
Playing without their star guard and leading scorer, the Hawks never trailed and rolled to an 99-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.
Marvin Williams, taking advantage of increased playing time, more than made up for Johnson’s absence with a season-high 31 points. Al Horford added 20.
“I got going early and my teammates kept coming to me,” said Williams, a 2004 graduate of Bremerton High School. “I had a big night and our team had a big night.”
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Johnson, who averages 18.5 points, sprained his right thumb Saturday.
Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in 2005 after his freshman season at North Carolina, was 9-for-14 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and 8-for-9 from the foul line in 43 minutes.
“Marv looked very confident out there,” Horford said. “He really just took what the defense gave him and he was being aggressive and attacking the rim. I think when he plays at that level, not necessarily scoring (31 points), but just being aggressive like that, I think we really are a different team.”
Johnson missed two weeks with an elbow injury, so Williams and his teammates are familiar with taking on added responsibility.
“It was something we had to learn to do,” Williams said “The guy doesn’t miss many games. We knew what we had to do. Everyone had to chip in a little more.”
Horford, the No. 3 overall pick in 2007, was 10-for-15 from the field and had 10 rebounds, while Josh Smith had a season-high 18 rebounds.
Baron Davis, who is expected to move into Cleveland’s starting lineup soon, came off the bench and scored 19 points.
“We got off to a bad start,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “We didn’t come out with the energy and aggressiveness we needed to come out with, for whatever reason.”