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Crawford, Hawks top woeful Kings

ATLANTA -- Jamal Crawford scored 20 points to lead a strong effort by Atlanta's backups, and the Hawks bounced back from a sluggish start to beat the Sacramento Kings 108-97 on Wednesday night.

Crawford, perhaps the NBA's top sixth man, led the Hawks in scoring for the 14th time this season, also knocking down the 22nd four-point play of his career. Maurice Evans had several big plays, as well, during the decisive third quarter as the Hawks pulled away to hand the Kings their fifth straight loss and 10th in 11 games.

Tyreke Evans led Sacramento with 24 points, and Kevin Martin added 23.

Joe Johnson scored 17 points for the Hawks, and three other starters were in double figures. But the Atlanta reserves made the difference, outscoring Sacramento's 45-30. Crawford's four-point play in the final period left him only two behind Reggie Miller for the most in NBA history.

Before a sparse, lackluster crowd at Philips Arena, the Kings went up 44-33 on Jason Thompson's layup with 51/2 minutes left in the first half. The first-place Hawks finally awoke from their slumber. Johnson hit a fadewaway jumper, then put it off softly off a drive. High-flying Josh Smith laid it in off a lob pass from Mike Bibby.

Atlanta closed on a 21-8 spurt to lead 54-52 at the break, then kept it up in the third. A 10-2 spurt at the start, capped by Smith's dunk off another alley-oop pass from Bibby, pushed the Hawks to a double-figures lead. After Sacramento closed to 72-68 late in the period, the Atlanta backups put it away.

Zaza Pachulia drove strong to the hoop to get the momentum back on Atlanta's side. Then Evans swatted one away from Spencer Hawes -- who thought he was fouled -- and took off the other way for a thunderous jam. Pachulia finished it off with another dunk to send the Hawks to the final quarter with a comfortable 81-68 lead.