Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson believes Josh Smith should be an All-Star. He certainly has performed like one against the Washington Wizards.
Coming off his second career triple-double, Smith looks to help the Hawks to their eighth straight win over the Wizards on Saturday night at the Verizon Center, weather permitting.
The Hawks won for the 11th time in 16 games with a 91-81 victory over Chicago on Friday, moving within a half-game of Southeast Division-leading Orlando. Atlanta (32-17) trailed by six entering the fourth quarter, but came out on an 8-0 run to take control.
Smith recorded his first triple-double since Jan. 23, 2008, finishing with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Joe Johnson also had 18 points and Al Horford added 15.
Woodson believes Smith, who's averaging 16.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists over the last 11 games, should be joining Johnson and Horford in Dallas for next weekend's All-Star game.
"Josh has probably been our MVP,' Woodson said. "I just wish he would've made that All-Star team because he has played like an All-Star this year for us. Everything that we have done from a team standpoint in terms of winning and losing has a great deal to do with the way he has played on both ends of the floor."
Smith will try to help the Hawks continue their dominance over Washington. Atlanta has won both meetings at home this season with Smith averaging 15.0 points on 52.6 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Another player who has provided a boost against the Wizards is Jamal Crawford. Coming off the bench, he's averaged 19.0 points in the two games, scoring 22 in a 94-82 victory on Jan. 13.
The Hawks have lost three straight on the road and are 11-12 away from home. The Wizards (17-32), meanwhile, are looking for their fourth win in six games.
Washington is coming off a surprising 92-91 victory at Orlando on Friday, rallying after trailing 32-13 in the first quarter. Caron Butler made a 19-foot jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining for the victory.
"When everything possibly can go wrong, and you're still in the game, you know you've got a chance," Butler said. "We did a great job of clawing our way back into the game little by little."
Butler finished with a season-high 31 points and also had nine rebounds after missing Wednesday's 107-85 loss to New York with a bruised left knee. He had averaged 13.3 points over the previous six games.
Butler has totaled 20 points against Atlanta this season, hitting only 8 of 23 from the field.
Washington has dropped four straight at home against the Hawks, but a severe winter storm could postpone this game. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the area until late Saturday with total snow accumulations possibly exceeding 30 inches.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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