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The Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith and Lou Williams, left, enjoy the final seconds of the team’s 104-95 victory against the Washington Wizards last Friday in Atlanta. It’s been a lot easier to smile this year in Atlanta, where a franchise known for underachieving is tied for the division lead.

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Hawks thriving without Joe Johnson

The Atlanta Hawks are tied with the defending NBA champion Miami Heat for first place in the Southeast Division with a 14-6 record — and they’ve done it without ex-star Joe Johnson, who was traded away this offseason to the Brooklyn Nets.

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