ATLANTA (AP) - Joe Johnson came out sporting a new look.
If his teammates have their way, he won't be changing it anytime soon.
Wearing a black headband, Johnson scored 36 points - 28 in the first half - and the Atlanta Hawks romped to a 110-85 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in a makeup game Tuesday night.
Johnson donned the headband to protect the back of his scalp after undergoing a procedure to treat a skin infection. It must have helped his shooting touch, too. He made six straight 3-pointers on the way to the highest-scoring half by an Atlanta player this season.
``He wanted to take it off at halftime,' Hawks center Al Horford said. ``We were like, 'No way.''
Johnson has to wear the headband at least a few more games to cover his wound.
After that, he's not sure.
``I'm not really a headband kind of guy,' Johnson said, breaking into a grin. ``But for right now, I've got to wear it.'
With Johnson firing away, the Hawks went on a 20-0 run that started at the end of the first quarter and extended into the second. The Bucks missed 10 straight shots - plus turned it over four times - during a scoring drought of nearly 6 minutes.
Andrew Bogut led Milwaukee with 21 points. That wasn't nearly enough against Johnson and the Hawks, who shot a staggering 63 percent (46 of 73).
``This was much needed,' Johnson said. ``We were playing a Bucks team that's really given us a lot of problems.'
Last year, Milwaukee surprisingly took the Hawks to seven games in the opening round of the playoffs, even with Bogut out with an injury. This season, the Bucks had won two of three meetings, including a 108-91 rout in Atlanta back in November.
This game, originally scheduled for Jan. 11, was postponed after an ice storm crippled Atlanta. The Bucks were forced to return to Atlanta, and what a wasted trip it was. They fell behind by as many as 24 points in the first half.
``It's just another one of those games where we didn't play very well,' coach Scott Skiles said. ``We were just too slow.'
The Hawks were bolstered by the return of Horford, the All-Star center who had missed the previous game because of an ailing left ankle. Otherwise, they stuck with the lineup that snapped a four-game losing streak last weekend: Johnson shifting up to small forward, with Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Teague starting in the backcourt.
The way Johnson played, it didn't matter who else was on the court. He made 13 of 19 shots - 6 of 9 beyond the arc - to bury the Bucks.
Johnson swished his first 3-pointer with just under 4 minutes left in the opening quarter, erasing Milwaukee's final lead. After Bogut tied it one last time at 17 with a hook shot, the Bucks suddenly went cold - and the Atlanta star couldn't miss.
He hit another 3 early in the second, picked off a bad pass by Corey Maggette and knocked down another one. After Carlos Delfino broke Milwaukee's scoreless streak, Johnson swished another 3. Then another, even though he was about as close to midcourt as he was to the arc. And, yes, one more.
Johnson finally missed on his final two 3-pointers of the half, apparently tired from all that shooting. He came up short of his career high, 42 points, largely because he came out near the end of the third quarter with the Hawks comfortably ahead and didn't return.
``I had my legs under me,' Johnson said. ``It was just a feeling. I was just letting it go.'
The Hawks led by as many as 33 down the stretch as both teams emptied their benches.
``We haven't had a win like this all year,' coach Larry Drew said. ``Hopefully a game like this will give us some juice.'
NOTES: Johnson came up shy of his career high for points in a half - 32 at Chicago on Jan. 28, 2006. ... Bucks G Michael Redd took part in the shootaround but hasn't had a chance to get in a full-contact practice. He hasn't played since January 2010, when he tore both the anterior cruciate and the medial collateral ligaments in his left knee. ... Teague, who tied his career high with 24 points in Atlanta's last game, scored just six points on a pair of late 3s. But Drew was pleased with what he brought to the team in other areas. ``He set the tone for us,' the coach said. ``His speed and quickness were a big factor.' ... Because of the makeup game, both teams will have to play on back-to-back nights. At least the Hawks get both games at home, facing Denver on Wednesday. The Bucks were traveling back to Milwaukee to host Orlando.
The Associated Press News Service
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