ATLANTA (AP) — Josh Smith scored a season-high 34 points and the streaking Atlanta Hawks beat the New Jersey Nets 116-101 on Tuesday night.
Smith, accurate with his outside jumper and inside game, made 14 of 16 shots from the field. When it was over, he blew kisses to the crowd.
The Hawks are 4-1 since losing top scorer Joe Johnson for four to six weeks to a right elbow injury and have won seven of eight overall.
Jamal Crawford had a season-high 26 points and Al Horford added 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Atlanta.
Brook Lopez led New Jersey with 24 points. Devin Harris had 18 points and 13 assists and Jordan Farmar scored 16.
New Jersey has lost eight consecutive road games and five straight overall.
Smith, one of the NBA’s top shot blockers and dunkers, has shifted from power forward to small forward for two straight games as coach Larry Drew continues to try new combinations after losing Johnson.
Center Jason Collins made his second straight start, giving the Hawks a big lineup with Horford moving from center to power forward, Smith at small forward and Marvin Williams at shooting guard.
Smith, who made each of his two 3-point attempts, flourished in the new role. He also had seven assists and blocked two shots.
The Nets led 44-40 before the Hawks closed the first half with a 20-3 run for a 60-47 halftime lead. Atlanta stretched the lead to 16 in the third but had to hold off New Jersey in the final period.
A 3-pointer by former Georgia Tech star Anthony Morrow with 3:25 remaining cut Atlanta’s lead to 102-97. Horford answered with back-to-back baskets for Atlanta.
The Hawks shot 60 percent from the field.
NOTES: Rookie F Derrick Favors had four points in his return to his native Atlanta. He was the Nets’ No. 3 overall draft pick out of Georgia Tech. … Drew said before the game he instructed Collins to “bang, rebound and foul,” and Collins was on the bench with two fouls less than 5 minutes into the game. He fouled out with 2:16 remaining. … The Hawks made 67 percent of their shots while outscoring the Nets 33-21 in the second period. … Smith set his career high with 38 points at Milwaukee on Nov. 17, 2007.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)