The Atlanta Hawks are now 3-0 without starting center Al Horford, who is out possibly for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, after they beat the Toronto Raptors 93-84 in a special afternoon game in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Led by Josh Smith, who has been phenomenal without his frontcourt-mate, with 28 points and 15 rebounds, the Hawks took care of business and are rolling, pushing their record to 10-4.
The Raptors had a promising start to the season, but have now lost five in a row and seven of their last eight. They were missing their best player, as Andrea Bargnani missed this one with a strained left calf. Without Bargs, the Raptors had trouble scoring with their starting five. They were led in scoring by Leandro Barbosa off the bench with 22 points. No starter scored more than 13 points.
The Hawks, meanwhile, are playing cohesive, confident basketball, led by Smith and Joe Johnson — how it should be. Johnson scored 27 points in this one, and while it's foolish to call the Hawks a better team without Horford, they are playing better right now. How long they can keep it up remains to be seen, but these wins count all the same.