ATLANTA (NBA.com Exclusive) -- Take two teams that played the night before in other cities, and very poorly in both cases, match them up and who are you going to go with?
Take the home team with a renewed sense of purpose, an out-of-his-mind performer like Josh Smith and a guy like Jamal Crawford who can score 25 points off the bench over the squad that lost a starter before the game even began.
The Atlanta Hawks went back to being the team they want to be Saturday night, and skunked the Denver Nuggets in nearly every way en route to a 125-100 win in Philips Arena.
Smith scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had seven assists, and blocked six shots.
Deciphering this one was nearly as easy as checking the Hawks' box score from one night to the next.
In a miserable 103-83 loss Friday night in Charlotte, the Hawks mustered a mere 10 assists and allowed the NBA's lowest-scoring team to have its way.
That led to considerable grumbling afterward by Hawks coach Mike Woodson and some players, including All-Star guard Joe Johnson.
Saturday night? One big, happy family from start -- Atlanta led 33-25 after one quarter -- to finish. The Hawks registered a whopping 30 assists on 45 baskets. Denver shot just 41 percent, going 2 for 10 on 3-pointers.
"Tonight it was about a team. [Friday] night, it was too much individually on both ends of the court," said Hawks guard Mike Bibby, who actually played a lesser role with 11 points and three assists. "We didn't help each other defensively [at Charlotte]. It was too much one-on-one [offensively] and it showed."
The Nuggets have lost back-to-back games in as many nights after beginning the season 5-0. They learned shortly before the game that forward Kenyon Martin would not play because he couldn't answer the bell after suffering a left fibula contusion in Friday's 96-88 loss at Miami.
Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points for Denver, and Chauncey Billups added 27, but Anthony hit just seven of 21 shots, and the Nuggets were a mess most of the night.
Mix in their bull-headed insistence on taking the ball at Smith, and, well, there wasn't much good to say for Denver coach George Karl.
"We didn't have enough energy," he said. "We never did get a grip."
The Hawks (5-2) matched up better with Denver than they did with the Bobcats a night earlier.
Atlanta led 60-50 at halftime, and already had 15 assists.
"I think the crowd was the biggest factor," said Atlanta center Al Horford, who scored 11 points to go with a game-high 12 rebounds. "I think they really got us going. We were back at home, and we were feeling good about ourselves. And I think it has to do with the style of play. It should be consistent, but with Denver you tend to run more up and down. Charlotte was more of a half-court game."
The Bobcats pushed the Hawks around physically Friday, as Atlanta wrapped up a four-game road trip that included three games out west.
The Nuggets did not push Atlanta much.
There was a fleeting moment where it appeared as though Denver might make a push, as a long pass to Chris Andersen early in the fourth quarter looked like a sure-fire dunk that would have cut Atlanta's lead to 90-80.
But in swooped Smith to swat it. At the other end moments later, Crawford drilled a 3-pointer for a 93-78 lead and that was pretty much the end of that.
"Josh Smith had an incredible game," Karl said of a player who last week became the youngest in NBA history to reach 900 career blocks. "We didn't respect his shot blocking."
Denver has two more road games, Tuesday at Chicago and Wednesday at Milwaukee, before returning home to play the Lakers Friday.
On the plus side, Martin is likely to return to action soon, and guard J.R. Smith will be available after serving a seven-game suspension.
The Hawks, meanwhile, are back to feeling good about themselves.
"You could see the up-beatness in the guys before the game when guys came in and were warming up," said Johnson, who matched Smith's 22 points. "It was a must that we come home tonight and win."