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Hawks end Houston drought
Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith (5) drives by Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger on Monday in Houston. - photo by Dave Einsel
HOUSTON — Josh Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a 10-game losing streak in Houston with a 102-95 victory over the Rockets on Monday night.

Joe Johnson scored 20 points and Jamal Crawford added 17 as the Hawks won in the Toyota Center for the first time in seven visits. The Hawks hadn’t beaten the Rockets in Houston since Feb. 25, 1999.

Aaron Brooks scored 15 points and had five assists and Carl Landry added 16 points for the Rockets. Houston has lost seven of 11, including three of its past four home games.

The Hawks took control with a 21-3 spurt in the second quarter. Houston missed 11 of its last 12 shots before halftime and trailed 55-44 at the break.

Smith and Marvin Williams broke free for dunks early in the third quarter as Atlanta stretched the lead to 15. Trevor Ariza drove for two layups to help Houston close the gap to 77-67 by the start of the fourth.

Kyle Lowry’s 3-pointer from the wing with 8:11 left — Houston’s first 3 of the second half — cut Atlanta’s lead to 83-76. Mike Bibby sank a 3-pointer with 6:27 left and Crawford hit two free throws 30 seconds later to restore the Hawks’ double-digit lead.

The Rockets got within eight before Bibby swished a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:52 left for a 95-84 lead. Landry lost the ball and Al Horford put back a miss by Crawford, prompting fans to head for the exits.

The Hawks shot 48 percent (39 of 82) and outrebounded Houston  45-41 to win for the eighth time in 10 games.

The Rockets weren’t called for any fouls in the first quarter, although Chuck Hayes got away with one when he smacked the ball away from Horford with 3:21 left. No whistle sounded, but Horford was cut on his left thumb and went to the locker room for stitches. Horford returned to the bench early in the second quarter with a bandage protecting the injured finger.

Brooks hit two 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first 15 minutes to lead Houston to a slim lead. The Hawks had only two assists through the first quarter and a half, but started 16 for 31 from the field to keep pace.

NOTES: Horford scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds. ... The Hawks finished with 13 assists. ... The Rockets dropped to 14-4 in games following a loss this season. ... The Hawks’ victory leaves Milwaukee as the only team that’s never won a regular-season game at the Toyota Center, which opened in September 2003. The Rockets beat the Bucks here on Jan. 18, Milwaukee’s 10th straight loss in Houston. ... The Rockets have faced double-digit deficits in their past five games.
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