The Atlanta Hawks won their third consecutive game with a Sunday afternoon 96-78 victory over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. The Hawks clamped down defensively in the third quarter outscoring the Raptors 25-11. Josh Smith looked like an All Star in recording his third career triple double with 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. Smith set the tone early with his passing and the Hawks recorded 24 assists on 37 made baskets. This game, like yesterday's game against the Knicks, shows how efficient Atlanta can be offensively when they are sharing and moving the basketball.
While Josh Smith was outstanding, Marvin Williams turned in one of his best performance of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Williams looks much more comfortable on that sore knee that he injured earlier in the season and had his second highlight dunk in as many days this time leaping high to corral a rebound while stuffing in through Dominique style. Al Horford was his usual solid self in scoring 16 points while grabbing 8 rebounds in the game. Literally it felt like everytime Horford touched the ball in the post, that Toronto was helpless to stop him.
The goal when Larry Drew switched the Hawks from an iso heavy offense to a more motion based attack was to make the Hawks more unpredictable on the offensive end. That also has had a profound effect on the Hawks offense given the struggles of Joe Johnson. Many times down the stretch in yesterday's win versus the Knicks, the Hawks dumped the ball into Al Horford rather than forcing the ball through Joe Johnson. In today's game Johnson found his shots in the context of the offense. Johnson scored 16 points on 6-12 shooting but still struggled from three point range going 1-5 from deep.
Really there wasn't a lot to complain about in this one, the Hawks weren't as sharp defensively starting out but could that could have been due to the second straight afternoon game. To the Hawks credit though they came out after half time and clamped down while cruising home to a victory. This wasn't a victory over a great opponent but it was a game that was played on the road that the Hawks absolutely had to win.