That wasn't the case against the Chicago Bulls star on Saturday night.
"We did a good team job on him defensively in crowding him, trapping him and showing him different looks," Smith said after the Hawks held Rose to just eight point in a 109-94 win over the Bulls. "We played sound defense on him."
|More on Bulls-Hawks|
John Lucas III had 14 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter for Chicago, which never led. The Bulls, who dropped to 7-2, had been off to their best start since going 12-0 in 1996-97.
Rose, last season's league MVP, had his lowest total since he scored six when the Bulls took a 17-point victory at Toronto on Dec. 15, 2010. He did not return to the game after leaving with 2:29 left in the third quarter.
"I give them credit," Rose said. "They played the way they're supposed to. Our defense let them score easy baskets in transition."
Both teams used mostly reserves in the fourth before Atlanta coach Larry Drew had starters Smith, Johnson and Al Horford enter the game for a few minutes late in the final period.
The outcome was in stark contrast to last Tuesday at Chicago, where the Hawks blew a 19-point lead in the third quarter and allowed the Bulls to outscore them 34-18 during the final period in a 76-74 loss.
This time, there was no such ugly streak for Atlanta.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was disappointed in the lack of ball movement on offense.
"In this league you usually get what you deserve," Thibodeau said. "This is the NBA. You've got to come every night. The ball has to move. You've got to give their defense credit. They're well balanced: they're good on offense, they're good on defense."
The Hawks, who improved to 6-3, have won two straight. They were up 17 late in the first quarter before the Bulls came within two with 4:09 to go in the second on Boozer's layup.
But Atlanta went on an 18-2 run, ending on Johnson's 12-foot runner in the final seconds of the half, to lead by 18 at intermission.
"This one's on the people that started the game," Bulls center Joakim Noah said after scoring one point and pulling down four rebounds in 17 minutes. "The second unit got it back to 4. It was embarrassing tonight. We know them. We've beaten this team before."
Jeff Teague's dunk with 5:52 left in the third quarter gave the Hawks their biggest lead at 29.
Hawks forward Marvin Williams left the game midway through the first with a sore left ankle and did not return.
Drew gave Radmanovich a season-high 28 minutes, and the 6-foot-10 forward responded by going 5 for 5 on 3-point attempts, handing out three assists and getting two steals.
"I thought we came out from the very beginning and played with a lot of emotion," Drew said. "I really thought we did a good job of just getting up and down the floor. We got some transition baskets. Defensively, we were on queue with everything we talked about."
Much of those discussions centered on limiting the damage from Rose, who scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter last Tuesday and helped the Bulls win 97-83 Friday in Orlando with 21 points and 10 assists.
"We had to get up on the pick-and-rolls more," said Teague, who was instructed to stay close to Rose. "We sat back the first game, and he picked us apart. He made 3s and did things, so we tried to get up on him a little more and let him see bodies. I think we did a pretty good job of that."
|Josh Smith scores 25 points in helping his Hawks win two straight and hang with the East's elite. (AP)|
|Atlanta (6-3) «||33||30||22||24||109|
|CHI:J. Lucas 16 Pts
CHI:O. Asik 13 Reb
CHI:D. Rose 6 Ast
|ATL:J. Smith 25 Pts
ATL:A. Horford 7 Reb
ATL:J. Teague 8 Ast
|Players of the Game|
Joe Johnson Hawks #2 Net Number Player T-Shirt - Red Shop Now!
|L. Deng, SF||30||4-13||0-0||3||2||0||8|
|D. Rose, PG||28||3-10||2-2||4||6||0||8|
|C. Boozer, PF||22||6-11||0-0||5||0||2||12|
|R. Brewer, SG||19||1-2||0-0||2||3||0||3|
|J. Noah, C||17||0-4||1-2||4||0||1||1|
|K. Korver, SG||35||3-8||4-5||3||5||3||13|
|T. Gibson, PF||29||5-8||1-2||2||1||1||11|
|J. Lucas, PG||20||6-12||2-2||1||2||0||16|
|O. Asik, C||20||4-8||0-1||13||0||2||8|
|J. Butler, SF||12||3-3||6-6||3||0||0||12|
|B. Scalabrine, C||8||1-3||0-0||3||2||0||2|
|R. Hamilton, SG||Did Not Play|
|C. Watson, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|J. Smith, SF||34||11-17||2-2||5||5||3||25|
|J. Johnson, SG||31||7-14||1-1||4||5||1||17|
|J. Teague, PG||30||6-8||0-0||2||8||2||12|
|A. Horford, C||24||7-8||0-0||7||4||1||14|
|M. Williams, PF||6||1-3||0-0||0||1||0||3|
|V. Radmanovic, SF||28||5-7||2-2||1||3||0||17|
|W. Green, SG||20||5-10||0-0||2||0||2||10|
|Z. Pachulia, C||20||3-5||0-0||5||0||2||6|
|J. Pargo, PG||18||0-3||0-0||2||1||2||0|
|I. Johnson, PF||12||1-5||1-1||3||2||2||3|
|T. McGrady, SG||8||0-1||0-0||0||3||0||0|
|J. Stackhouse, SF||5||0-1||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|J. Collins, C||5||1-1||0-0||0||0||0||2|
|K. Hinrich, PG||Did Not Play|
|D. Sloan, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|