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Buzzer-beater gives Hawks seventh straight win
Josh Smith (5) celebrates with teammate Marvin Williams, rear, after scoring the game-winning basket against the Houston Rockets in the last seconds of the fourth quarter Friday at Philips Arena in Atlanta. - photo by Gregory Smith

HEROs to the rescue

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ATLANTA — Josh Smith soared through the lane to drop in a missed shot with 0.7 seconds remaining and the Atlanta Hawks won their seventh in a row, beating the Houston Rockets 105-103 Friday night to maintain the NBA’s best record.

Marvin Williams scored a season-high 29 points, but it was Smith, who spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench because of foul trouble, who came through at the end.

Carl Landry hit a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left to cap Houston’s 11-1 run that tied the game at 103. The Hawks got the ball to Mike Bibby, whose jumper bounced off the rim. But Smith flew right down the middle of the lane and softly laid it in with both hands while the Rockets screamed for basket interference.

Replays showed the ball had cleared the rim before Smith touched it.

Williams had been one of the few disappointments in Atlanta’s brilliant start to the season. He had not scored more than 14 points in a game, but he had 13 in the opening quarter and passed his previous high before halftime. He finished 13 of 19 from the field.

The Hawks needed Williams to come up big with Smith in foul trouble — he had only nine points in less than 24 minutes — and

Joe Johnson held to 19 points on 6-of-18 shooting after two straight 30-point efforts.

Jamal Crawford added 21 points for the Hawks, while Landry led five Houston players in double figures with 18.

The Hawks improved to 7-0 at Philips Arena, their best start at home since 1997, and snapped the Rockets’ two-game winning streak on the road.
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