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Hawks gaining steam

POSTED: December 20, 2007 5:02 a.m.

ATLANTA — Josh Smith scored 25 points and rookie Al Horford grabbed 14 rebounds in the Atlanta Hawks’ 86-78 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

The Hawks have won three of four and six of nine. Memphis, the NBA’s fifth-best most accurate team on 3-pointers, lost its fourth straight after shooting a season-worst 1-for-15 beyond the arc.

After hitting a runner midway through the third, Smith followed with a three-point play to stretch Atlanta’s lead to 52-33. He finished 11-for-19 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds.

Horford has 10 or more rebounds in five straight games. The former Florida standout, drafted No. 3 overall after helping the Gators win two straight national titles, leads all rookies and ranks 11th overall with an 8.1 average.

Rudy Gay led Memphis with 17 points, and Kyle Lowry added 15.

Down by 16 points after Horford’s turnaround 10-footer late in the first, the Grizzlies went on a 16-6 run, ending with Gay’s putback, to pull to 30-26.

Memphis, which dropped to 2-9 on the road and 6-14 overall, never threatened in the second half after Mike Miller’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 43-33 early in the third.

Notes: Atlanta G Josh Childress was out with a strained groin, but he hopes to return at Orlando on Monday. .. Grizzlies G Damon Stoudamire started but was scoreless while shooting 0-for-6 from the field after missing an overtime loss Friday at New Orleans with the flu. ... The Hawks are 6-5 at home. ... Atlanta coach Mike Woodson estimates that reserve G Tyronn Lue could miss the next two weeks with a strained left calf.



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