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NBA: Atlanta 116, Charlotte 96

April 7, 2012 at 11:05 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 7 (UPI) -- Joe Johnson paced eight Atlanta players in double figures Saturday and the Hawks shot 52 percent in crushing Charlotte 116-96.

Charlotte managed only eight points during the final 8 minutes of the first half and faced a 12-point deficit at the break. The Bobcats, with only seven wins to their credit this season, could never make a run in the second half.

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Johnson scored 18 points, Ivan Johnson added 17, and both Josh Smith and Jannero Pargo had 15. Zaza Pachulia contributed 16 rebounds for the Hawks, who have won three straight and stayed a half game in front of Orlando for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Cory Higgins scored a career-best 22 points for Charlotte. The Bobcats' latest losing streak has reached 11 games.

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