NBA Game Summary - New Jersey at Atlanta
(Friday, March 23rd)
Final Score: Atlanta 93, New Jersey 84
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Josh Smith scored 13 points in the fourth quarter en route to his second straight 30-point performance to help Atlanta to a 93-84 victory over the Nets at Philips Arena on Friday.
"I've just been playing confident and playing the way I'm capable of playing," said Smith about his strong play of late. "I'm just trying to initiate myself into the ball game and set the tone."
Smith added 12 rebounds, while Jeff Teague tallied 17 points, Joe Johnson scored 16, and Kirk Hinrich finished with 14 to help the Hawks to their fourth victory in their last five contests.
Deron Williams paced the New Jersey attack with 20 points and eight assists and Kris Humphries chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds but the Nets continued to falter as they dropped their fifth straight game.
Atlanta trailed 69-62 after three, but the Hawks opened the fourth on a 22-6 surge that turned a seven-point deficit into a nine-point advantage as the Hawks led 84-75 with just under four minutes left in the fourth.
Gerald Wallace sank a three to end the run and Anthony Morrow added a jumper on the next possession to make it a four-point margin with just under three minutes to play.
Four straight from Smith made the difference eight, but Humphries tallied the next four as his layup with 49.5 ticks left made it an 88-84 contest.
Marvin Williams missed a three on the Hawks' next possession, but Atlanta corralled the offensive board and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds to hang on for the victory.
"I liked our focus. We had really positive energy and went into halftime with a one-point lead," said Nets head coach Avery Johnson. "We had a pretty good third quarter but unfortunately we didn't start off well in the fourth. Some silly turnovers turned the game around, especially when we were trying to give our starters a rest. We still hung in there, but couldn't close them out."
Atlanta knocked down four three-pointers in the first quarter as it took a 21-20 edge heading into the second stanza.
The teams exchanged runs in the second as an early 9-0 surge from the Nets was countered by a 14-3 push from the Hawks, but the Nets took a slim 44-43 advantage into the intermission.
Still trailing by one, Atlanta scored seven straight to take a 54-48 lead with seven minutes left in the third. After Williams hit a three to halt the surge, Hinrich buried back-to-back threes around a Humphries jumper to press the lead to seven, 60-53, with 5:20 left in the third.
The Nets responded, however, as Morrow sank a trey to spark a 16-2 run that closed out the third quarter with the Nets on top 69-62.
Atlanta was playing the first game of a back-to-back-to-back as it heads to Washington on Saturday and hosts Utah on Sunday...New Jersey will start a three-game homestand on Saturday against Charlotte...The Hawks dominated the paint, outscoring the Nets 50-28.
03/23 22:52:48 ET