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Smith's big effort helps Hawks end slump

Apr 7, 2007 - 6:29 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- It took a monster effort by Josh Smith to end the Atlanta Hawks' woes.

Smith scored 28 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds as the Hawks snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 115-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Salim Stoudamire added a career-high seven 3-pointers and 21 points for Atlanta, which won for the first time since a 99-76 home win against Sacramento on March 19.

"We just were patient and knocked down shots," Stoudamire said. "It's all about opportunity and I'm just trying to seize the momentum."

The Hawks needed the effort from Smith and Stoudamire to overcome the attack of Bucks' reserve guards Earl Boykins and Charlie Bell, who combined for 64 points.

With Milwaukee leading, 83-76, with under three minutes left in the third quarter, Smith and Stoudamire had six points apiece during a 12-0 run that supplied Atlanta with an 88-83 edge with a minute remaining.

The Hawks continued their impressive run into the fourth, pulling ahead, 100-88, when a 3-pointer by Stoudamire with 7:47 left capped a 24-5 burst that bridged the last two quarters.

"They started hitting shots," Bucks forward Ruben Patterson said. "Salim Stoudamire hit some threes. Their bench contributed real well. We had a lot of fatigue kicking in tonight, considering this is our third games in four nights."

Despite the high frequency of games, fatigue was not a problem for Milwaukee, which raced out to a 32-19 lead less than 10 minutes into the contest behind Boykins and Bell, who combined to 27 points in the first quarter.

"We all got out to a bad start," Smith said. "We didn't want to get embarrassed, it was heading that way. We picked it up defensively in the second quarter."

The Hawks were able to fight back though, picking up their defensive pressure and controlling the boards. They finished with a 52-36 advantage in rebounding behind the career effort by Smith, who also had seven offensive.

"Tonight the difference was the rebounding," the 5-5 Boykins said. "They got us on the boards, maybe not so much in the statistics but they got second and third shots and hit their threes, which was huge."

That effort on the offensive glass helped the 6-9 Smith eclipse his previous career high in rebounds of 15, last accomplished in a 101-87 loss at Charlotte on March 28.

"It's a big accomplishment, I got 18 rebounds," Smith said. "I would have never thought I would have gotten 18 rebounds in a game, but I got it tonight."

Smith also had two blocks, extending his streak of at least one rejection in a game to 49.

"I just try to stay active," Smith said. "If that's true (about the streak) then that's happening."

Starting in place of injured Michael Redd and Mo Williams, Boykins tied a career high with 36 points and Bell chipped in 28.

"I was able to get open looks but more importantly it's a matter of winning," Boykins said. "Scoring in this league is easy but (we're) just trying to get a win."

Patterson added 19 points and 11 boards for the Bucks, who dropped their fifth straight road game.

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