Hawks upset by surprising Knicks, 114-107

By CHARLES ODUM,

AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) Josh Smith was in the

locker room when the Atlanta Hawks were trying to find a way to stop

the New York Knicks’ cuts to the basket.

Smith, ejected in the second quarter, proved to be a crucial missing piece.

Al Harrington scored 27 points, Chris

Duhon had 25 points and 10 assists and the Knicks used an effective

combination of 3-pointers and drives to the basket to beat the Hawks

114-107 on Friday night.

Nine of New York’s 11 3-pointers came

in the first half. Duhon, David Lee and Larry Hughes attacked with

drives to the basket after Smith, the NBA’s leader in blocked shots,

was given two technical fouls by referee Bob Delaney.

“(Smith) just can’t put himself in that position again,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said

Smith’s exit “made things a little easier for us, in terms of matchups,

because he can change the dynamics of the game.”

Duhon said Smith’s ejection helped

the Knicks change their attack plan. With Atlanta missing its top

shot-blocker, the Knicks began driving to the basket.

“It definitely makes a big

difference,” Duhon said. “Usually you come off the pick and roll to the

rim, No. 5 is back there. If he doesn’t stop you he’s going to make you

alter your shot.

“It was kind of a relief knowing when you went to the basket that he wasn’t going to be there to knock it away.”

Lee, often matched against former University of Florida teammate Al Horford, had 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Harrington, the former Atlanta star, had 23 of New York’s first 46 points.

“Al got hot in the first half and carried us to keep us close until our offense got where it needed to be,” Duhon said.

D’Antoni said Harrington’s hot start gave the Knicks “a jump start.”

“He gave us some confidence, and

this is the best game he’s had all season,” D’Antoni said. “Everybody

started pitching in, which helped us stay in the game and gave us a

chance to beat these guys.”

Harrington said Atlanta’s 11-0 run made him think “Man, we better do something or we’re getting blown out of the building.”

The Knicks, who had lost six of

seven, made 11 of 25 3-point attempts, gave the Hawks only their second

loss in 10 home games. Harrington and Duhon each had four 3s.

Joe Johnson led Atlanta with 29 points. Marvin Williams added 20 points and Horford added 17 points and 14 rebounds.

The Hawks made only 4 of 23 3-pointers.

Smith apparently complained to

referee Bob Delaney about Harrington’s defense, drawing the technical

with 6:21 remaining in the second quarter.

Smith walked to midcourt and

continued his protests to Delaney, drawing a second technical foul and

the ejection. Smith threw his mouthpiece to the floor on his way off

the court and kicked a trash can in the hall leading to the locker

room.

Smith was not available for comment after the game.

Johnson said Smith apologized to the team after the game.

“Those things happen,” Johnson said of Smith’s ejection. “When they do, other guys have to step up.”

Williams said Smith’s ejection was “absolutely” a surprise.

“You kind of hope a guy can contain

himself in situations like that,” Williams said. “I don’t know what

happened. It didn’t look like anything too out of control. Obviously,

the referee didn’t like it.”

New York led 48-42 when Smith was ejected.

Knicks guard Nate Robinson, who did not play Wednesday night in a loss at Orlando, was in uniform but again was held out.

Larry Hughes had 16 points for New York. Tony Douglas, with six points, was the only other Knicks backup to score.

NOTES: Knicks F Danilo Gallinari was

in uniform but did not play due to a sore right forearm. He started 17

of the team’s first 19 games and said he hopes to play Sunday against

New Jersey. … Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. attended the

game. … Smith left with eight points and five rebounds.