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Josh Smith Takes His Turn Leading the Atlanta Hawks to Victory

John Boller@jboll0327Correspondent INovember 8, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks against the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on November 1, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

One day removed from suffering their worst loss of the season, the Atlanta Hawks were at home last night against the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets (5-2), like the Hawks, also came to Atlanta following a loss, their first of the season.

For the Nuggets, last night’s game was the second of their four-game road trip before they return home to play the Los Angeles Lakers next Friday.

The Hawks (5-2) continue to play inspired basketball at home. They are now 3-0 in Atlanta after handing the Nuggets their second straight loss.

Their 125-100 win is Atlanta’s biggest of the season, a season-high in scoring, and they finished tied with a season-high 30 assists.

A win like this means more than just a gain in the win column. Following a blowout loss to division foe Charlotte Bobcats, a big win against an elite NBA team gives the team back confidence and morale lost.

Jamal Crawford continues to have success in Atlanta’s system, scoring his third 20+ point game of the season. He also had four assists and finished a perfect 8-of-8 in free throws.

Again, the Atlanta Hawks are getting it done at the free-throw line. They finished 27-of-30, the team’s second time to shoot at least 90% from the charity stripe.

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The Hawks five wins and two losses can be told at the free-throw line. In their five wins, the Hawks have won by an average of 12 points, and shot .827 from the foul line. In their two losses, the Hawks shot only .768 at the foul line.

While Crawford did lead the team in scoring, it was Josh Smith’s night. Smith, who is hoping to be selected to his first NBA All-Star team this season, had an All-Star caliber night.

He was 8-of-10 from the field and 6-of-8 from the foul line to finish with 22 points. He also had nine rebounds- seven defensive- seven assists, and six blocked shots in 35 minutes.

For the first time this season, Crawford led the team in minutes played with 37:49 of action. Mike Bibby played in just 20 minutes, and rookie point guard Jeff Teague played 16, his third highest total this season. His game-high in minutes played so far was during their blowout loss to the Bobcats. Teague played in 20 minutes.

All five Hawks starters scored double figures. Al Horford finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

Atlanta will have a chance to rest up until Wednesday when they play the Knicks at New York.

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