Kevin C. Cox
Atlanta won its third straight game, their ninth out of their last 10, and 12th overall, clamping down on the Grizzlies in Memphis on Saturday night.
The Memphis Grizzlies hadn't lost a game to an Eastern Conference foe since last season. With a big third quarter, Atlanta made sure that streak came to an end.
Josh Smith's 24 points paved the way for the Hawks' 93-83 win over the Grizzlies, the third straight victory for Atlanta and the team's ninth in its last 10 games. For Memphis, the defeat snapped a modest two-game win streak, as well as the 13-game unbeaten streak against non-conference opponents.
The Grizzlies held the edge at halftime, 47-41, thanks to 26 combined first-half points from Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. But in the third quarter, the Hawks shut the duo down, as they combined for only six points on only seven shot attempts. Meanwhile, Lou Williams came off the bench to replace an ineffective Devin Harris and scored 11 points in the quarter, including three three-pointers in a one-minute span toward the end of the period.
By the start of the fourth, Atlanta held a 13-point edge. Memphis chipped away at the lead throughout the fourth quarter, getting as close as six points a handful of times. But the Hawks managed to close out the win.
Along with Smith's 24 points and eight rebounds, the Hawks got 21 from Williams and 19 from Al Horford. Gasol, Randolph and Rudy Gay each hit double figures, but Memphis got no help from its reserves, which combined for just 14 points.
For the Hawks, their next game will be a big test: A trip to South Florida to face the Heat on Dec. 10. Memphis, meanwhile, will hit the road for a showdown with Phoenix on Dec. 12.