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Smith paces Hawks past Indiana
Scores 14 of his 27 in the fourth period
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ATLANTA — Josh Smith likes the pace of Atlanta’s offense when the Hawks are whipping passes around the perimeter.

“When we can swing the ball and get open looks, we’re tough to beat,” Smith said. “That’s what we did tonight.”

Smith scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, Joe Johnson added 24 points and the Hawks beat the Indiana Pacers 108-93 on Saturday night.

The Hawks have won four straight and eight of 10. Indiana, which never led, has dropped three in a row and six of seven.

Danny Granger scored 16 for the Pacers, who seemed to lose focus after coach Jim O’Brien’s technical foul midway through the third quarter.

Indiana trailed by eight when O’Brien objected to a non-shooting foul called on Tyler Hansbrough and was whistled for the technical. Johnson hit the ensuing free throw, and the Hawks ended a 17-5 run with 1:51 left in the period to take an 82-62 lead on Smith’s 3-pointer.

O’Brien hardly seemed to think the outcome changed on a technical foul.

“They’re a terrifically talented basketball team,” O’Brien said. “The combination of (Mike) Bibby and (Al) Horford and Smith and Johnson is really too much for us to handle right now.”

Hawks coach Larry Drew started a small lineup with forward Marvin Williams missing his fifth straight game because of a lower back contusion.

Maurice Evans started at shooting guard to defend Mike Dunleavy, who finished with six points. Johnson was assigned to Granger, who went 1 for 5 from the field in the second half.

“We’re just really not playing well, particularly on the offensive end,” Dunleavy said. “There’s not a lot of rhythm or flow to our offense, and it’s not a whole lot of fun to play or watch right now.”

Atlanta has won nine of 12 since Johnson returned Dec. 17 from elbow surgery.

Not long before hitting his lone 3, Smith jammed in a putback of Jamal Crawford’s missed runner to make it 76-59.

Drew was proud that Smith, Johnson and Horford each finished with six assists. The Hawks had 27 assists to Indiana’s 17.

“We did a great job of passing the basketball,” Drew said. “Everybody was moving the ball around, and I thought Josh Smith had a phenomenal game. We had productivity from a lot of guys. That’s how we’ve been playing, and that’s how we’ve been winning.”

Sixth man Crawford has scored at least 20 points in his last five games.

“It’s fun,” Horford said. “We’re getting everybody involved. Jamal is starting to play like himself again and Joe, as well. It’s great playing with them.”

Hansbrough made his third career start and second in two nights. Coming off career highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds in Friday’s three-point home loss to San Antonio, Hansbrough finished with 10 points and five boards.

The Pacers seemed flat less than 24 hours after blowing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter against San Antonio and ending the game by missing 16 of 17 from the field. Indiana lost its seventh straight at Philips Arena and ninth consecutive in the series.

“It happens sometimes,” said Bibby, who scored 12 of his 15 in the third. “You play so many games, and you’ll have some good ones and some bad ones. We’ve just had several good ones in a row against them.”

Smith and Al Horford each pulled down 10 rebounds.

Darren Collison added 13 points for the Pacers.

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