ATLANTA - Josh Smith slumped in front of his locker, trying to figure out how a team that played so hard in an overtime win at Miami could return home and get blown out by 41 points.
That’s just what happened Friday night. Coming off a victory over LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the mighty Heat, the Hawks were held to the lowest-scoring game in Atlanta history by Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets, who took control late in the first half and cruised to a 100-59 rout.
“You can’t explain it,” Smith said. “You have games like this sometimes.”
The Hawks have never had an offensive performance like this, at least since moving to Atlanta in 1968. Previously, their lowest-scoring game was a 73-63 loss to Cleveland in 1996.
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Only Jordan Crawford’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining kept Hawks from their worst offensive effort ever – a 57-point game in 1955 when the team was in St. Louis.
“That was about as bad as we’ve played this year, from start to finish,” coach Larry Drew said. “Nobody wants to lose – especially that way, especially at home. It’s very embarrassing.”
Paul scored 16 points and dished out eight assists in leading the Hornets to their seventh straight win against a team that shot 29 percent.
“It’s fun to play defense,” Paul said. “It’s great to score but it’s better to shut teams down and see guys sort of frustrated. When you know that you’re playing team basketball, it’s pretty special.”
The Hawks played without injured starters Al Horford and Marvin Williams.