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Johnson, Smith help Hawks capture third straight win

Jan 18, 2007 - 5:59 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Hawks are showing signs of life.

Joe Johnson had 29 points and eight assists and high-flying Josh Smith scored 21 points as the Hawks coasted to their third straight win, a 105-88 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The win helped Atlanta registered its second-longest winning streak of the season. The Hawks won four games in a row from November 3-10.

"That was as good as it's been since we started the season," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "I thought we were solid from beginning to end. That was pleasant to see."

A 6-7 swingman, Johnson connected on 12-of-19 shots, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range.

"Single coverage makes life easier," Johnson said about playing against a zone. "You get good looks."

Johnson and Smith combined for eight points during an impressive 10-0 burst in the second quarter to help the Hawks open a 45-30 edge with 5:47 remaining in the half.

In the third periold, Smith scored six consecutive points as the Hawks extended their lead to 83-61 with 60 seconds left.

Smith is averaging 13.6 points, 3.6 blocks and 2.3 steals in three games since returning from hernia surgery on January 10.

"It's good to be in the paint, changing shots so it is not just easy layups," Smith said. "Every time they come into the lane I am going to try and contest it."

"Josh gets rebounds and pushes the ball to get wide-open shots," Johnson said. "We miss his inside presence when he is gone."

Zaza Pachulia scored 12 points and Josh Childress had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks, who shot 54 percent (44-of-81) from the field and made 7-of-13 3-pointers.

Mark Blount had 16 points and 11 rebounds and superstar Kevin Garnett contributed 13 and 13 for Minnesota, which had their three-game winning streak stopped.

"Basically, you just have to chalk this up, go home and get some rest, and come back and play the next game," Garnett said.

"You're not going to stop KG," Woodson said. "We had to zone them as well. Their offense is potent when he gets things going, so we had to throw some defensive changes throughout the game just to keep them off guard a little bit."

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