Charlotte 104, Atlanta 85 (F)

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 20 (AP)-- The Atlanta Hawks thought they were headed in the right direction, riding a three-game winning streak and starting to get healthy.

Two straight losses to the Charlotte Bobcats and Josh Smith's obscene gestures have dampened the optimism.

Matt Carroll scored 22 points and Charlotte shot a team-record 65 percent in a 104-85 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night. The Bobcats beat the Hawks 96-75 Friday night.

Atlanta played the second half without Smith, who will likely face disciplinary action after he made some obscene hand gestures to fans after his second-quarter ejection.

"That's something he's going to have to deal with. There obviously will be consequences for something like that,'' Hawks forward Marvin Williams said.

The Hawks had little hope after Smith, averaging 13 points and eight rebounds coming in, lost his cool.

Smith became upset at being called for an offensive foul late in the second quarter. He quickly picked up two technical fouls and was ejected. On his way to the locker room, Smith kicked a pile of jerseys and towels behind the bench, then made a pair of obscene hand gestures to the crowd as he was about halfway through the tunnel, apparently reacting to being heckled.

Smith wasn't in the locker room when reporters were allowed in after the game, but coach Mike Woodson said he met with him.

"We talked a little bit,'' Woodson said. "He just can't put himself in that position to where he loses his cool, and we're already short-handed enough as it is.''

The Hawks, who played again without Speedy Claxton (knee) and Tyronn Lue (groin), were trailing 39-30 when Smith was tossed.

They got within five at halftime, but the Bobcats pulled away in the second half behind great ball movement and blistering shooting.

Jeff McInnis, acquired earlier this month from New Jersey, started at point guard with Raymond Felton (ankle) and Brevin Knight (torn abdominal muscle) out. McInnis made 7-of-11 shots and added nine assists and four rebounds without a turnover.

"I just try to play point guard,'' McInnis said. "I'm learning how everybody likes the ball, where everybody likes the ball. I just try to deliver it, and when the shots are there, step up and make them.''

McInnis distributed the ball well. Carroll shot 9-of-12, Emeka Okafor scored 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting and Adam Morrison, who had struggled with his shot of late, shot 8-of-14 and scored 18.

"I was impressed, too, to be honest,'' Carroll said of the Bobcats surpassing their previous best shooting performance of 59 percent at New York earlier this month. "It's fun to play. The ball was moving and everyone got some good touches. I think that's what got us our good lucks and why we had our high shooting percentage.''

The Bobcats led by 10 going into the fourth quarter, and Morrison's 3-pointer with 6:17 left gave Charlotte a 92-73 lead as it won for the fifth time in seven games despite numerous injuries.

Center Primoz Brezec (back spasms) and forward Sean May (knee) did not play.

Joe Johnson scored 22 points, Williams added 20 and Josh Childress had 18 for the Hawks, who have lost two straight following a three-game winning streak.

The Hawks shot 51 percent but committed 17 turnovers.

Now Atlanta will have to deal with aftermath of Smith's ejection.

"That's not the big reason we lost,'' Johnson said. "I think we lost because we kind of lost focus. We didn't get off to a good start. When teams jump out on us, we tend to sag our head a little bit. It's tough for us to get back.''

Notes: Smith had two points and four rebounds on 1-of-4 shooting before the ejection. ... Hawks G Salim Stoudamire did not play due to an illness. ... Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff doesn't mind playing back-to-back games against the same opponent. "I don't have any problem with them because no team has an advantage,'' he said. The Bobcats play Washington on back-to-back days in early April. The Hawks don't have another home-and-home set.

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