"In the first half, I didn't think we played well, and I told our guys at halftime." Atlanta coach Larry Drew said. "But yet, we were only six points down, and that was one of the encouraging signs of the first half. We got into a rhythm in the third quarter, and Lou (Williams) came in and gave us a big lift."
Atlanta turned up the defensive pressure to open the second half, leading to a 10-4 run and a tie at 51. Memphis missed six of its eight shots in the early minutes of the third quarter and committed three turnovers to allow Atlanta to pull even.
Atlanta would continue to push the pace, and the Grizzlies were dragging. The Hawks would craft a 20-0 run as Memphis went almost 5 minutes without scoring.
The rally put Atlanta up 73-58. Williams, who was 1 for 6 in the first half, connected on three straight from beyond the arc.
"Just confidence. Just continue to shoot," Williams said of the difference from the first half. "I got a layup, and then I was able to get a 3 and it snowballed from there."
Williams had 13 points in the third, helping the Hawks carry a 73-60 lead entering the fourth.
That was enough for Atlanta to withstand a Memphis push that got the Grizzlies within six points on multiple occasions midway through the fourth.
Both times Memphis made a run, Smith scored on 8-footers, the second time also drawing a foul. That was part of Smith scoring seven straight Atlanta points, and when Williams connected on his fourth 3-pointer of the night, the Hawks had stretched the lead back to double digits.
"Once we got a little bit of a lead, we maintained our composure, even when they made a couple of runs," Drew said. "That's just a huge win for us."
NOTES: Both teams were playing the second game of a back-to-back. .The game was the nightcap of a doubleheader at the FedExForum. The University of Memphis defeated Austin Peay 83-65 in an afternoon contest. . Hawks G DeShawn Stevenson was available, but did not play for Atlanta because it was the second night of a back-to-back. Meanwhile, G Kyle Korver missed fourth straight game with back spasms. .Memphis had won 20 of its last 21 at home before the loss. .Gay had 17 points, scoring five points in the last minute, marking his 21st consecutive game with at least 14 points. .It was Atlanta's 10 win in the last 12 games of the series.