What a difference a few days can make in professional sports. Josh Smith, who was having all sorts of difficulties during the Atlanta Hawks' most recent slide, scored 12 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished 10 assists en route to recording his third career triple-double in Atlanta's easy 99-78 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon.
Marvin Williams had 17 points and 12 boards and Al Horford and Joe Johnson added 16 each for suddenly-hot Atlanta (10-7), which has won three straight games.
This one was over in a blink of an eye in the third quarter. The Hawks, who used an 11-0 run to build a six point halftime lead, took it to Toronto after the break, scoring 25 of the game's 36 points in the frame to turn a close one into a blowout. The Raptors commited six turnovers and shot a putrid 3-for-17 from the field in the frame as Smith flirted with a triple-double.
The Atlanta forward, who along with teammate Horford set the tone of many games with strong play on the boards for the Hawks languished to find that final assist deep into the fourth quarter. He finally fed Johnson for a layup with 4:30 left to accomplish the allusive feat.
Andrea Bargnani had 14 points for Toronto, which was booed on its own home court. But the other team losing is something the Hawks are used to on the highway this season. They improved to an Eastern Conference-best 7-2 away from Philips Arena. They also moved 1-1/2 game ahead of the struggling Miami Heat (9-8) for second place in the Southeast Division. The Orlando Magic (12-4) lead the division by two games.