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Smith, Hawks continue winning streak, end Sixers' run

Mar 14, 2007 - 4:32 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Josh Smith helped the Atlanta Hawks continue their winning streak while putting an emphatic end to another.

Smith recorded a double-double as the Hawks posted their fourth straight victory, a 104-92 triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Atlanta jumped on Philadelphia early and never let up. The Hawks opened a 22-10 lead eight minutes into the game and led by as many as 29 in the second half.

"I thought our concentration level tonight was as good as it has been from beginning to end of a ballgame that we've played all season," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "To hold them under 100 points, they've been scoring a lot of points in their seven-game winning streak. I thought our defense was great tonight. Offensively, we shared the ball and made plays."

Smith made a number of plays for the Hawks, scoring 26 points and adding a career-high 17 rebounds. He made a layup with 3:50 to go in the third quarter to give Atlanta a 79-50 bulge.

"He's growing up. I can't say that enough," Woodson said of Smith. "He, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams, they've come a long way from the time we got them. They've made major strides."

Childress scored 15 points and Zaza Pachulia had 15 and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who have won all four games during their streak at home and without leading scorer Joe Johnson. The guard is sidelined with a calf injury.

"Four wins without Joe is big," Smith said. "That has to be big for our team and our confidence. We have to find a way to keep it up (Wednesday).

"I'm just focused in a little more. I understand that everybody has to step up (with Johnson out). I'm just trying to step up for the team to the best of my ability."

Atlanta has won four straight at home for the first time since December 2005.

Andre Iguodala and the Sixers were looking for their eighth straight victory but came out flat and never were in the game. Iguodala scored 18 points but was just 4-of-11 from the field.

It was Philadelphia's longest winning streak since February 12-March 2, 2003, when it won nine in a row.

"It came to Atlanta beating us to a lot of loose balls. They were quicker than we were and our defense was not sharp," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "They outrebounded us as well. I think Atlanta did a lot of things tonight that we had been doing right (during the streak). The fact they were able to get to loose balls and be quicker than us helped them be successful against us tonight."

With the win, Atlanta (26-39) moved to within four games of Indiana for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We're definitely thinking playoffs," Williams said. "We've been thinking that the whole year."

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