Hawks 106, Grizzlies 105
ATLANTA (AP)—With the game on the line, Josh Smith never wavered.
Smith scored 20 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 11.5 seconds left, to give the Atlanta Hawks a 106-105 win Friday night over lowly Memphis, the Grizzlies’ sixth straight loss.
Smith, who made the follow shot to tie it, still had a free throw to make.
“When I stepped up to the line, I felt confident,” said Smith, adding that every day before shootaround and practice, he makes at least 50 free throws.
Mike Miller, who scored 29 points, including 22 in the second half, had a chance to win it for the Grizzlies, but his long jumper hit the front rim and bounced away at the buzzer.
“Miller got a great look because (Chill) Josh Childress left him to cover Damon Stoudamire,” Smith said. “It was kind of like pick your poison. But me and Anthony Johnson contested the shot and we won out.”
“Mike had a good look at the end of the game, but the shot just didn’t go down,” said Memphis coach Tony Barone. “I would have him take that shot every night.”
The Grizzlies had taken 105-103 lead on a basket by Stoudamire with 28 seconds left after trailing by 17 points early in the second quarter.
It was Atlanta’s second consecutive win after losing six in a row. Memphis has lost nine of 10 and has the worst record in the NBA at 15-48, including the poorest mark on the road, falling to 4-28.
The Grizzlies tied it at 101 on a 3-pointer by Miller with 2:27 left, then took their first lead since the opening minutes at 4-2 on a basket by Rudy Gay.
Atlanta’s Shelden Williams tied it at 103 on a basket with 41 seconds remaining.
Stromile Swift added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies, and Gay had 15 points.
The Hawks led 81-80 after three quarters. Miller scored 14 points in the third for the Grizzlies, who trailed by 17 points in the second period and 60-50 at the half. Memphis tied it at 76 on a dunk by Swift with 2:18 remaining in the third.
The Hawks built their lead to 88-80 on a free throw by Childress with 9:28 left.
Atlanta took its halftime intermission behind the scoring of Childress, who was 6-of-7 from the field, and Marvin Williams. Childress had 14 points and Williams 13.
“It was Marvin and Chills (Childress) early in the game, and I thought in the second half, Josh Smith really made an impact on the game, especially on the defensive end,” Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said.
“He got some blocks and key rebounds, and he had the big putback and free throw at the end to put us over the top,” he said.
Atlanta’s leading scorer, G Joe Johnson (25.0) missed his second straight game with a right calf injury, as did G Speedy Claxton, with a sore left knee. … Atlanta beat the Grizzlies in their only other meeting this season, 97-88, on Dec. 15 at Memphis.