The Atlanta Hawks seem to be holding down the fort just fine without star guard Joe Johnson. Josh Smith posted a season-high 34 points and dished seven assists and Al Horford added 24 points and 10 boards, leading the Hawks to a 116-101 win over the lowly New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night at Philips Arena.
Jamal Crawford had 26 and Mike Bibby add 11 for Atlanta, which has won seven of its last eight games and is 4-1 since losing their superstar guard.
The Hawks (15-8) won this one by shooting lights out and sharing the basketball. Atlanta shot a season-best 60-percent (47-for-78) from the field and made the extra pass on 34 of those 47 field goals. The result was a balanced attack that sent New Jersey (6-16) to its fourth straight loss here, its fifth straight overall and eighth straight loss on the highway this season.
In the absence of Johnson, Atlanta played its second straight game with a shuffled up lineup. Jason Collins started once again in the middle, Horford moved to power forward and Smith switched over to the small forward spot. Marvin Williams played in Johnson's place at shooting guard.
What worked in Atlanta's 80-74 win over the Orlando Magic was bound to work against the lowly Nets, although New Jersey posted itself to an early 44-40 second quarter lead. But Atlanta finished the first half with a flourish, scoring 20 of the next 23 points to post a 60-47 edge at the break. New Jersey got no closer than five down the stretch.
Brook Lopez had 24 points to lead the Nets, who had five players finish in double figures.