ATLANTA (AP) -- Josh Smith is showing there is more to his game
than power dunks and blocked shots.
Smith led a balanced scoring attack with 25 points as the
Atlanta Hawks, who had seven players score in double figures, beat
Washington 114-101 Friday night, ending an eight-game losing streak
against the Wizards.
Smith, continuing to gain confidence in his 3-point shot, is
emerging as a more dangerous scorer in his second NBA season,
taking pressure off Joe Johnson and Al Harrington.
"When I've had to score, if they leave me open, I'm going to
try to make them pay by hitting the jump shot like I did tonight,"
Smith was 0-for-6 on 3-point attempts in the first 49 games this
season, but he has made 25 3s in the last 24 games, including three
in five attempts Friday night. His last 3-pointer came with 1:35
left after the Wizards cut Atlanta's lead to seven points. He
finished one point off his career scoring high of 26 points against
Memphis on Sunday.
Smith, the NBA All-Star slam-dunk champion as a rookie last
season, ranks sixth in the league in blocked shots this year. He
had four blocked shots Friday night.
"He was phenomenal. He ran the floor and did a good job," said
Washington's Antawn Jamison. "When he's stroking the ball the way
he's stroking it, you can see why the Hawks are really high on him.
As the years go by, he's going to be more and more effective. He's
Smith also provided a highlight-worthy dunk -- a one-handed jam
after catching an alley-oop pass from Josh Childress with his left
hand late in the first quarter.
"His development is very, very apparent," said Washington
coach Eddie Jordan.
Johnson had 20 points and Zaza Pachulia had 16 as four starters
and three backups scored in double figures, giving the Hawks the
scoring balance the Wizards lacked.
Gilbert Arenas scored 41 points and Jamison added 24 for the
Wizards, but backup center Brendan Haywood, who had 11 points, was
Washington's only other scorer in double figures.
"Tonight was one of those nights when we were short-handed,"
The Wizards were without forward Caron Butler, held out with a
right thumb sprain, and guard Antonio Daniels, who has a sprained
Butler is third on the team with 17.3 points per game.
Washington is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference playoff
race, still 2½ games ahead of sixth-place Milwaukee, which lost to
Memphis Friday night.
The Wizards had a scare when Arenas, who had 15 points in the
first period, limped off to the locker room with a lower back
sprain 10 seconds into the second quarter. He returned midway
through the quarter and started the second half.
"It feels like a pinched nerve," Arenas said. "It happened at
the end of the first period when I missed a layup. When I came
down, something popped in my lower back. When I started running,
the pain was all down my left side."
Arenas said he kept playing because "it's that time of the
season when you need every game."
"It was one great valiant performance by our team, especially
Gilbert," Jordan said. "... It was an all-timer for me, to see
Gilbert perform like that."
Johnson scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks, who have won back-to-back games for the first time
since Feb. 27 and March 1, beat Washington for the first time since
March 12, 2004.
The Wizards won the first three games of the four-game season
series. They failed to reach five games over .500 for the first
time this season.
Through three quarters, Arenas and Jamison had 51 of
Washington's 75 points. The Hawks had four players in double
figures and two more with nine.
Atlanta led 55-53 at halftime and 80-75 entering the final
^Notes: The Hawks made 39 of 49 free throws, setting a season high
for free throws made. It is the most free throws made for the Hawks
since they made 41 against the New York Knicks on April 17, 2005.
... The Wizards activated F Awvee Storey when placing Butler on the
inactive list for the game. ... Arenas had his 10th 40-point game
of the season, matching LeBron James for the third-highest total in