ATLANTA (AP) - Josh Smith was delighted to watch the fourth quarter from the bench.
``It was real important,' he said. ``It just feels good to get some rest and watch them play a little bit.'
Smith scored 24 points, Jeff Teague added 17 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the woeful Charlotte Bobcats 120-93 on Wednesday night.
Joe Johnson finished with 16 points for Atlanta, which had lost three of four. Hawks coach Larry Drew rested all of his starters in the fourth quarter.
Rookie Kemba Walker came off the bench to lead Charlotte with 21 points. Gerald Henderson added 15 for the Bobcats, whose NBA-worst record dropped to 7-45. They have lost nine straight.
``I was just trying to do whatever I can to help the team,' Walker said. ``But it wasn't enough.'
Willie Green scored 17, Marvin Williams had 14 and Jannero Pargo finished with 12 in reserve roles for the Hawks.
Charlotte never led after Smith's short hook shot put Atlanta up 17-16 midway through the first.
Atlanta pulled away by outscoring the Bobcats 34-19 in the second quarter.
Teague split two defenders to covert a three-point play at the 3:35 mark of the second to make it 53-39.
Driving from left side of the perimeter, Teague left his feet for a layup, but had his first attempt nearly blocked. He pulled the ball back down, though, and floated toward the baseline to bank in the shot.
Smith, who followed with a 20-foot jump shot at the 2-minute mark to give the Hawks a 16-point lead, beat Eduardo Najera for a defensive rebound in the final minute and made a one-handed pass to Johnson at halfcourt. Joe Johnson passed to Ivan Johnson for dunk that made it 59-42.
``At halftime, the message was to start the third quarter very aggressively and let's see if we can create some more separation,' Drew said. ``I thought our guys did that in the third quarter, and I was really happy that we were able to rest those guys in the fourth quarter.'
D.J. Augustin started for the 39th time in his 41 games despite falling and hurting his left knee in the Bobcats' five-point loss Tuesday at Toronto. Augustin, who managed just two points in less than 11 minutes, was already battling tendinitis in his right knee.
Coach Paul Silas said before the game that Augustin is still Charlotte's starting point guard, though Walker got the nod against Toronto. Walker played 33 minutes against Atlanta, second-most on the team.
``They played well,' Walker said. ``They made all the right plays. They got a big lead on us, and we couldn't come back from it.'
Hawks center Zaza Pachulia had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Matt Carroll scored 12 points, Derrick Brown had 11 and Reggie Williams 10 for the Bobcats.
Silas didn't mask his disappointment in taking another loss in a dreadful season.
``Well, it's hard,' he said. ``You have to look at what you have, but losing is still difficult. I don't care what you have or who you have - injuries or young kids that we have - it's difficult. I hate losing. I've never lost like this in my life, so it's very difficult.'
For the Hawks, the game went as smoothly as Smith could've asked.
``It's nice to have a bench as deep as we have,' Smith said. ``Especially because we've had people out.'
Drew had everyone on his roster available except for starting center Al Horford (left pectoral surgery) and reserve forward Vladimir Radmanovich (back). Pargo, who returned after missing 10 games with an appendectomy, played 16 minutes.
``We kind of got off to a slow start,' Pargo said, ``but the bench players pretty much did what we've been doing all year, which is come in and just try to lift our team and give us some energy.'
Notes: Bobcats F Corey Maggette missed his third straight game with a strained right Achilles tendon. He also missed a combined 20 games with strained left hamstring and bruised back. ... Atlanta outscored Charlotte 60-36 in the paint, 36-14 on fastbreaks. ... Charlotte C Byron Mullens, who pulled down a career-best 14 rebounds Tuesday at Toronto, finished with seven rebounds. The third-year center had 20 points in each of the past two games, but finished with eight.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved