Josh Smith scored 16 points, Marvin Williams added 15 and the Hawks won their sixth straight game with a 96-83 victory over the Utah Jazz last night in Atlanta.
Al Horford and Joe Johnson each finished with 12 points as Hawks coach Mike Woodson rested his starters in the fourth quarter. Atlanta improved to 12-2 at home, best in the Eastern Conference.
The Jazz were outscored, 30-6, to open the third quarter before Paul Millsap’s jumper made it 71-42.
Utah coach Jerry Sloan pulled his starters midway through the third. Wesley Matthews later returned in the fourth after he combined with Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur, Carlos Boozer, and Ronnie Brewer to go 8 for 33 from the field when Sloan sat them down.
Atlanta’s winning streak is its longest since March 7-19, 2009.
The Jazz cut the lead to 10 on Andrei Kirilenko’s 8-foot fadeaway in the final minute of the second. Utah, which endured a 5:19 stretch of the third without a field goal and finished the game with 23 turnovers, was never closer than 11 after Okur’s two free throws made it 49-38 early in the quarter.
Kirilenko led the Jazz with 13 points. Matthews and Eric Maynor each had 11 as Utah dropped to 4-7 on the road.
The Hawks never trailed after Williams’s 3-pointer made it 9-6 early in first quarter.
Cavaliers 85, Bucks 82 - LeBron James scored 26 points, Mo Williams added 17 and host Cleveland, despite playing poorly on offense down the stretch, hung on to beat Milwaukee for its fifth straight win.
James finished with 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Cavaliers won their ninth straight game at home and left Cleveland with some momentum to begin a four-game road trip that will include a Christmas Day game against the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Cleveland scored just 2 points in the final 6:35 as the Cavaliers missed shot after shot and failed to take care of the ball.
Milwaukee rookie Brandon Jennings scored 18 points, but fired up an air ball on a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left that would have tied it. Jennings was just 5 of 21 from the field.
Hornets 98, Nuggets 92 - Chris Paul had 30 points and a season-high 19 assists, and narrowly missed a triple-double with nine rebounds, to lift host New Orleans over Denver.
Paul scored 26 points in the second half, and with his assists combined for 41 of the Hornets’ 52 points over the final two quarters. Peja Stojakovic added 24 points, including four 3-pointers, to help New Orleans overcome a 15-point first-half deficit and win its second straight game.
J.R. Smith scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony had 17 for Denver, which was without starting point guard Chauncey Billups because of a pulled left groin.
Rockets 116, Mavericks 108 - Kyle Lowry came off the bench for a career-high 26 points and 10 assists, and visiting Houston took advantage of the second-half absence of Dirk Nowitzki to beat Dallas in overtime.
Aaron Brooks added 25 points and Luis Scola contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds to help the Rockets end the Mavericks’ five-game winning streak.
Timberwolves 112, Kings 96 - Kevin Love put up 20 points and 16 rebounds, his fifth straight double-double and seventh in nine games since returning from a broken left hand, to lead Minnesota past visiting Sacramento.
Corey Brewer scored 20 points on 9 for 16 shooting, and the Wolves (5-22) were in front from start to finish for the first time this season, taking advantage of a sloppy, sluggish regression by the Kings, who fell to an NBA-worst 1-11 on the road.
Grizzlies 107, Pacers 94 - Zach Randolph had 26 points and 16 rebounds, and O.J. Mayo added 20 points and six assists to lead host Memphis over Indiana.
Thunder 109, Pistons 98 - Kevin Durant scored 27 points, and a pair of rookies led host Oklahoma City on a key run in the fourth quarter as the Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak.
Rookie James Harden scored Oklahoma City’s first 7 points of the fourth quarter to help the Thunder stretch their lead, and Nick Collison’s tip-in pushed the advantage to 86-77.
After Charlie Villanueva scored the next 5 points for Detroit, Harden and fellow rookie Serge Ibaka combined on a 9-0 run to give Oklahoma City its largest lead of the night, 95-82.
Knicks 95, Clippers 91 - David Lee scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and host New York erased a 20-point deficit to beat Los Angeles.
Raptors 118, Nets 95 - Amir Johnson scored a season-high 18 points, Chris Bosh had 16 points and 8 rebounds, and host Toronto easily dispatched New Jersey.
Wizards 118, Warriors 109 - Gilbert Arenas had season-highs with 45 points and 13 assists and visiting Washington topped Golden State to end a six-game losing streak.