Crawford, Smith Help Hawks Rout Nuggets
By TOM SALADINO, AP
ATLANTA -- Josh Smith had a night to remember, especially after one he and the rest of the Atlanta Hawks would like to forget.
Jamal Crawford scored 25 points, and Smith had 22 points, nine rebounds, six blocked shots and seven assists in the Hawks' 125-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
The Hawks were coming off a 103-83 loss to Charlotte on Friday night.
"It's a big statement. Having a letdown loss last night, and being able to come in and beat the number two or three team last year in the Western Conference. That's a big boost of confidence," said Smith, 8 of 10 from the field and 6 of 8 from the line.
"I had opportunities to succeed and I seized the moment. I have wonderful guys to pass the ball to and I was really looking to crash the boards."
The Hawks had a season-high 125 points and 30 assists.
"It's big, more mentally than anything else," Crawford said. "We had tough loss against Charlotte last night,and we beat a tough Denver team. We didn't lay down, and we fought. From start to finish, I thought we were really good as a team."
The Hawks had seven players in double figures. Joe Johnson added 21 points, Marvin Williams had 14, Mo Evans 12 and Al Horford and Mike Bibby 11 each.
Carmelo Anthony had 30 points for Denver, and Chauncey Billups added 25. The Nuggets lost their second straight after winning their first five. Anthony was 7 of 21 from the field and 15 of 18 from the line.
"We didn't have enough energy. We never did get a grip," Denver coach George Karl said. "Crawford played great. Joe Johnson did a good job. Josh Smith had an incredible game. We didn't respect his shot blocking. We needed an A game from a lot of guys, and we didn't get it," he said.
The Hawks scored the first 10 points of the second half to make it 70-50. Denver never got closer than 12 points -- at 90-78 less than a minute into the final quarter.
The Hawks shot 52 percent, hitting 45 of 87 shots, including 8 of 19 3s. Bibby was 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
Both teams were coming off Friday night losses. The Hawks lost 103-83 at Charlotte, and the Nuggets fell 96-88 at Miami.
NOTES: The Nuggets were without forward Kenyon Martin. He injured his leg Friday night. ... Karl is still seeking win No. 939 to pass Red Auerbach for eighth place on the career victory list.
Received 11/07/09 10:27 pm ET