TORONTO - Josh Smith had 25 points and seven rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks used 11-for-22 shooting from three-point range to win 118-110 over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night.
The Hawks (44-34), who have a tenuous grip on the highly coveted No. 4 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, avoided a season-high tying fourth straight loss with 25 points from Joe Johnson and 17 points from Maurice Evans.
Mike Bibby added 13 points and 10 assists and Al Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks.
Chris Bosh, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds, recorded his eighth consecutive double-double for the Raptors, who lost their second game in a row. It was Bosh's 40th double-double of the season.
This was a game the Raptors were in until the second half began. But too many second-chance points given up by the Raptors and too many three-pointers by the Hawks was the difference.
"The thing that hurt us most was the second-chance points, and they got threes on the second-chance points," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "The one thing over the past seven games is, we have won the battle on the boards seven times. To lose that battle today, it was the 11 offensive rebounds they got."
Shawn Marion had 18 points and six rebounds, Jose Calderon had 16 points and 13 assists and Andrea Bargnani had 15 points for the Raptors (30-47). Quincy Douby, who came off the bench to lead all Toronto's reserves, had nine points in almost nine minutes of floor time.
The Raptors were outrebound 37-33 in the game. The Hawks went on a 14-8 run to begin the third quarter, erasing the Raptors' lead along the way and going up 67-65 with 6:05 remaining. Triano called a timeout, which seemed to calm the Raptors down somewhat and they went into the fourth down just 85-84.
But the Hawks carried their momentum into the quarter and a Smith block on Bargnani, which turned into an Evans driving dunk, put the Hawks up 107-100 with 4:46 remaining. A Horford steal off Calderon and then a three-pointer by Johnson just minutes later put the Hawks up 112-102, their biggest lead of the game, and enough to sink the Raptors.
"We were stacking the lane pretty good," Bosh said. "I think Joe Johnson did a good job of creating for his teammates. They shot it with a lot of confidence and they just really let it go."
With the Raptors out of the playoff picture after being eliminated by the New York Knicks in a 112-103 home loss on Sunday, Triano had said wins would still be a priority but that substitutions might come earlier than usual.
And they did.
By the time the second quarter started, the Raptors had Jason Kapono, Patrick O'Bryant and Joey Graham on the floor. They managed to maintain the lead from the first quarter and even built it to nine points when Pops Mensah-Bonsu hit a free throw at 8:48.
The Hawks eventually whittled the lead down to four points, 57-53, and Triano started the second half with his regular five.
The Raptors, who need at least three wins out of their next five games to avoid a 50-loss season for the first time since 2005, now go on the road to play the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday before returning home to take on the Washington Wizards on Friday.
NOTES: As part of the NBA's Green Week initiatives, the Air Canada Centre dimmed some internal and external lights. As well, Direct Energy donated $100 for every free throw made by the Raptors, with proceeds going to the David Suzuki Foundation.