Once again, the Atlanta Hawks got a sub-par effort from Joe Johnson. But once again, it didn't matter one iota. Jamal Crawford had 22 points and Josh Smith had one of the best all around games you'd ever see, pouring in 20 points with eight boards, six assists and five blocked shots, leading the Hawks to a perfect 6-0 with a 113-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in Minneapolis.
Mike Bibby had 15 points and Al Horford recorded another double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the high-flying Hawks, who are one of three undefeated teams in the NBA.
You had a feeling that the Hawks had this one in the bag from the first time that Smith posted up against Michael Beasley. Injuries to Marvin Williams and Maurice Evans forced Smith to move over to the three and face his good friend Beasley. The prolific Atlanta shot blocker dominated the matchup, swatting shots with ease, draining shots from inside and out and leading his team to yet another win.
Meanwhile, Beasley and teammate Kevin Love were tossing up brick-after-brick in this one, finishing a combined 12-for-36 from the field. And $20 million man Darko Milicic, who entered this one shooting 14-percent from the field, struggled again with his shot, connecting on 2-of-7 from the field.
Minnesota cut the Atlanta lead to 56-53 to start the second half before the Hawks figured that enough was enough and stomped down on their less talented opponent, rattling off 11 straight points to open up a 14 point lead.
The Hawks lead by as many as 17 before Minnesota tried to make a game of it with a 14-4 fourth quarter run to cut the lead to 94-87 on Corey Brewer's dunk with 5:41 left. But Crawford responded by draining a 3-pointer on the ensuing Atlanta possession to seal the win.
Johnson finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Hawks, who nevertheless defeated the Timberwolves for the 12th straight game. Minnesota has not beaten Atlanta since the 2005-06 campaign.