Smith warmed up in time to deliver the game's biggest plays in the fourth quarter.
Smith took care of his sore hamstring and then took care of the Indiana Pacers, scoring 21 points to lead Atlanta to a 97-83 win Saturday night.
He had consecutive three-point plays late in the fourth quarter, each time after Indiana cut Atlanta's lead to seven points.
"My team was looking for me, and I was able to deliver," Smith said.
Hawks coach Larry Drew said Smith came through with "big plays, really, really big plays."
Smith said he made it home at 3 a.m. on Saturday after the Hawks' flight from San Antonio. The Hawks made only one of 12 shots to start the game, and Smith missed each of his four attempts in the first quarter.
"We just had to shake the rust off," he said. "The good thing about us not scoring right away is we were playing good defense."
Smith said Atlanta's backups "were able to come in and lift us up" in the second quarter, when the Hawks outscored the Pacers 32-21.
Drew said backup point guard Jeff Teague "was a catalyst for us" in the second quarter.
"His speed and his energy when he got into the game got us going," Drew said.
Smith was treated for cramping in his right hamstring before the game and said he felt good against the Pacers.
Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 25 points. Al Horford finished two assists shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists.
Crawford and Smith combined to make 18 of 21 free throws. Smith had seven rebounds and blocked two shots.
"It's a credit to their defense," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "They really defended us well."
The Hawks have won eight straight over the Pacers and six straight in the series at Philips Arena.
"It's a game," O'Brien said. "I could care less about a building or against a team. We lost a game. Get on with life."
Indiana's players are aware of their lack of success against the Hawks.
"It takes its toll," Dunleavy said. "These guys have had our number the last seven, eight times we've played."
O'Brien gave credit to Horford for holding Hibbert to six points, nine below his average.
"He shut down Roy," O'Brien said. "He didn't give Roy anything in the low post. He was more physical than Roy. He's a heck of a player. They have a really good basketball team."
The Pacers were coming off a home win over Charlotte on Friday night.
Atlanta took a big lead at 43-21 in the second quarter. The Pacers came no closer than seven points in the final period.
Hawks backup forward Josh Powell sustained a sprained right knee in the fourth quarter and did not return. He was injured when he bumped into teammate Damien Wilkins.
Powell said he doesn't expect to miss any games.
Drew continued to tweak his lineup in the team's seventh game since losing top scorer Joe Johnson for an estimated four to six weeks with an elbow injury.
Center Jason Collins started in a big lineup the last three games before returning to a reserve role against the Pacers. Maurice Evans started at Johnson's shooting guard spot.
Drew said he was returning to the combination most effective in Atlanta's 102-92 win at Indiana on Nov. 16.
The Pacers' last win at Atlanta was on Dec. 22, 2006. ... Hawks C Zaza Pachulia, who was sick and did not travel with the team for Friday night's loss at San Antonio, did not score while playing less than 6 minutes. ... Horford's eight assists set a career high.