ATLANTA — Josh Smith believes the Atlanta Hawks can keep winning even though center Al Horford will miss the next three to four months with an injury.
“We have veteran guys who have been there and done that before,” Smith said. “All we need is to just keep flying under the radar.”
Smith scored 28 points and pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds and Joe Johnson added 27 points to help the Atlanta Hawks win their third consecutive game, 93-84 over the Toronto Raptors on Monday.
The Hawks are 3-0 since Horford tore his left pectoral muscle last week, and Smith is hardly concerned that Atlanta has yet to beat a strong opponent during that stretch. Charlotte, Minnesota and Toronto are a combined 11-29.
“We’ve played against some good teams here and some not-so-good teams, so we’ve just got to be able to be disciplined no matter who we’re playing against,” Smith said. “We have to be able to get out to a good start. The bench guys came in (Saturday) night and gave us a lift and the starters did the same thing today and everyone else followed.”
Leandro Barbosa had 22 points off the bench for Toronto, which has lost five in a row.
Toronto was without center Andrea Bargnani, the NBA’s ninth-leading scorer, for the third consecutive game because of a strained left calf. Reserve guard James Johnson didn’t play because of a sprained right ankle.
The Raptors twice cut the lead to one late in the third quarter when Barbosa hit a pair of free throws and a runner, but Atlanta went on an 18-9 run that Jeff Teague ended with a free throw to make it 81-71 with 7:55 remaining.
Toronto never got closer than five after Ed Davis scored inside over Smith to make it 85-80 with 2:12 left.
With the win, the Hawks improved to 10-4 overall, 6-1 at home.