Crawford scores 25, Hawks beat Magic for 3-1 lead

Associated Press
Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5) dunks the ball as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) and Atlanta Hawks center Josh Powell, right look on in the second quarter during Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 24, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5) dunks the ball as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) …

For most of the night, the Atlanta Hawks struggled to make free throws and labored to put away the Orlando Magic.

But with the game on the line at the line, Joe Johnson came through.

Jamal Crawford scored 25 points for the Hawks and Johnson made four big free throws in the final 20 seconds to preserve an 88-85 victory over the Magic.

Atlanta has a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series and can wrap it up in Orlando on Tuesday night.

The Hawks made only 12 of 20 free throws, yet all was forgiven when Johnson knocked down the ones that really matter. Running out of time and forced to go for a tying 3-pointer, the Magic set up a play for Hedo Turkoglu.

Al Horford foiled that plan, knocking the ball away from the Orlando player. Turkoglu got it back with only enough time to force one up. It missed badly, and the Hawks celebrated a commanding lead in the series as streamers fell from the ceiling of Philips Arena.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 29 points and 17 rebounds. His night was marred by eight turnovers, however, including a couple of walking calls when he tried to back in on the collapsing Atlanta defense.

Gilbert Arenas, who didn't even play in Game 3, picked up some of the scoring slack with Jason Richardson serving a one-game suspension for an altercation with Zaza Pachulia.

Arenas scored 20 points, but no other Orlando player had more than 11. The Magic continue to struggle with their jump shooting, unable to solve an Atlanta defense that is not consumed by Howard's numbers, allowing it to play the outside guys straight up.

The Magic shot only 39 percent (31 of 79) and actually rallied in the second half to reach that number.

Crawford, who hit a clinching 3-pointer in the closing seconds Friday night, had another big night. Last year's top sixth man hit 10 of 18 from the field, including three from outside the arc.

Johnson made only 6 of 15 and finished with 20 points. Al Horford and Kirk Hinrich both had 14 for the more balanced Hawks.

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