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News » Sum of their parts making sense

Sum of their parts making sense

Sum of their parts making sense The Hawks are warming to this idea of the sum of their parts being greater than any one individual.

Surprisingly, captain and All-Star Joe Johnson is the head cheerleader of this new approach.

The reduced minutes, the scoring-load help and the gang rebounding are all things that Johnson loves to see. And he finally got a chance to watch a little bit in the Hawks' win over Washington on Friday, when he sat for a comfy stretch of the first half while sixth man Jamal Crawford took over the game on offense.

"As long as we keep playing hard and keep playing at a high level, we're going to be a tough team to beat, and that's what's most important," Johnson said. "There's nothing else more important than that."

And that includes Johnson maintaining his minutes. Normally he reaches the high 30s, but Johnson barely cracked the 30 mark (30:01) in the win over the Wizards, a new phenomenon for the Hawks' resident iron man.

"It'll benefit me in the long run in the later months of the season, in April and May," Johnson said. "I think that's when we'll really see the full benefit of having such a balanced team."

Turning to Crawford as early as they did certainly had the Wizards guessing what might be coming next.

"Jamal Crawford came into the game and really changed the tempo," Wizards center Brendan Haywood said, "That threw us off."

Blocks party

Josh Smith reached a milestone Friday night, collecting two blocks to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 career rejections, but he was upstaged a bit on his big night by Al Horford, who blocked five shots against the Wizards.

Horford leads Smith in the season total with 7, but it's early.

Smith said he wasn't even thinking about getting his 900th when he blocked a Gilbert Arenas jumper on the wing for 900 and then raced down the floor to finish the sequence with an alley-oop dunk on a feed from Mike Bibby. When he smashed an Arenas layup attempt off the backboard for 901 a few minutes later he said he was simply making sure the Hawks finished the right way.

"I was just thinking about getting a win," Smith said. "Any individual accolades can wait. I'd rather get the [win]."

Marvin Williams remains in awe of Smith's uncanny knack for blocking shots.

"That's impressive to see somebody block that many shots," Williams said. "He's got it figured out. He should write a book or something."

Mr. Smith shows up

Hawks veteran power forward Joe Smith barely played during the preseason, so there was a little bit of mystery surrounding his role before the regular season started.

He has since cleared that up, delivering quality production and minutes in both wins for the Hawks this season. "I think I said it at the time," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said, "I was never worried about Joe Smith. He's a veteran in our league, man, and that puts him in a whole different light when you're talking about him being ready to play and prepared to fulfill his role, whatever that might be, when the time comes."

Smith is averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds playing behind both Josh Smith and Horford on the second unit.

Still tinkering

Woodson said he's still tinkering with his playing rotation and will continue to do so until he finds a comfortable mix for all involved. And that includes making sure he plays the right players at the right times as opposed to leaving all the pressure on the players to sweat out what they do in their allotted minutes.

"I have to help them out from a coaching standpoint," he said, "by getting guys in at the right time, and then pulling guys when they are not doing what they're supposed to do."

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 2, 2009


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