Atlanta silences Thunder
Josh Smith came up big when the Atlanta Hawks needed him.
Playing to the home crowd and energizing his teammates as leading scorer Joe Johnson watched the game with an injured knee, Smith knew his performance was the reason Atlanta held off hard-charging Oklahoma City last night.
“I’m an emotional guy,’’ he said. “I’m the emotional leader of this basketball team and whenever we can make some defensive stops and put them together, that definitely has to get you fired up.’’
Smith scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, Jeff Teague added 16 points, and the Hawks snapped the Thunder’s seven-game winning streak with a 97-90 victory.
Kevin Durant finished with 35 points, going 14 of 17 on free throw attempts, and Russell Westbrook had 25 points for league-best Oklahoma City.
Smith, who matched a season-high in scoring and pulled down seven of his 12 rebounds in the fourth, had dunks on consecutive possessions to give the Hawks an 87-79 lead with 4:43 remaining.
Smith then hit a 3-pointer to put Atlanta up, 92-88, at the two-minute mark.
One minute later, Smith drove past Serge Ibaka on the right side and rolled in a lefthanded hook to make it 95-90.
Mavericks 102, Jazz 96 - Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 points as host Dallas beat Utah to snap a four-game losing streak.
Nowitzki scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks turned away a late rally by the Jazz, who sliced a 23-point deficit down to 5 points.
Dallas forward Lamar Odom played for the first time after missing four games because of a family matter and personal reasons. Odom was supposed to play Saturday night in the NBA Development League. Instead, he was recalled and scored 9 points in 18 minutes.
Paul Millsap scored 24 points and Derrick Favors added 14 points for Utah.
Pacers 102, Hornets 84 - Danny Granger scored 20 points and visiting Indiana beat New Orleans for its first six-game winning streak in seven years.
David West had 14 points and 13 rebounds in his first game back in New Orleans after playing the first eight years of his career with the Hornets. Darren Collison added 13 points, including a circus shot at the halftime buzzer.
Indiana, playing only its second game in 10 days, blew it open with a 21-4 run to take a 54-37 lead at the half. The Pacers led by 30 in the fourth quarter.
Jarrett Jack scored 18 and Marco Belinelli added 15 for New Orleans, which played its third game in four days.
Wizards 101, Cavaliers 98 - Jordan Crawford scored 31 points and John Wall added 24 to lead host Washington over Cleveland.
Antawn Jamison scored 29 in his return to Washington, but missed a 3-point attempt to tie the game with 35 seconds to play. It was Jamison’s first appearance in the Verizon Center since being traded to Cleveland in February 2010.
Magic 114, Bucks 98 - Dwight Howard had 28 points and 14 rebounds to lead six Magic players in double figures as host Orlando beat Milwaukee for the fourth time in 22 days.
Jason Richardson had 18 points for the Magic, while Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson chipped in 16 points apiece. The Magic shot 51.7 percent (14 of 27) from 3-point distance.
Grizzlies 100, Pistons 83 - O.J. Mayo scored 17 points and sparked a 17-0 fourth-quarter run with his 3-point shooting, as host Memphis won its fourth straight.
Mayo was 4 of 5 outside the arc, connecting on all three attempts in the fourth quarter.
Timberwolves 122, Trail Blazers 110 - Kevin Love scored a season-high 42 points and added 10 rebounds, and Minnesota snapped a 16-game losing streak to host Portland.
Former Blazers swingman Martel Webster added 21 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves.