Smith has 'monster game' for Hawks

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Smith has 'monster game' for Hawks

ATLANTA Before Sunday's game, Paul Pierce spoke in glowing terms about Atlanta's Josh Smith.

"He is a lot of work," Pierce said at the time. "He's an All-Star in my mind. He's playing as good as anybody in the NBA at this point."

Little did Pierce know how true his words would be, as Smith put the Hawks on his back for long stretches as they ultimately soared past the Boston Celtics for an 83-74 win.

Atlanta's victory was indeed a team-wide win, but the play of Smith stood head and shoulders above the rest.

He led all players with 22 points and 18 rebounds.

"He (Smith) was an animal," said Atlanta head coach Larry Drew. "Josh is a guy that, when he's playing with that energy, when he's playing with that type of rhythm, he just makes us so much better."

Smith came into this series, much like he did this season, with something to prove.

Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and a host of other NBA players have often said that Smith is indeed an all-star caliber player.

Anytime he hears players praise him, it feels good.

But Smith admits it means even more hearing players like Pierce and Garnett give him props for his play.

"Those guys are Hall of Fame players," Smith told CSNNE.com. "To hear that come out of their mouths, it really gives me motivation and drive to become an All-Star one day."

For Smith, the biggest challenge for him has been becoming more consistent with his play.

Although he averaged just under 19 points per game this season, far too often Smith took bad shots or made bad decisions with the ball.

But as he has grown more and more into a leader, Atlanta head coach Larry Drew has become more comfortable with giving him some leeway.

"Every now and then, he'll take a crazy shot," Drew said. "Which I'm willing to live with for all the things he does do well. Defensively, he takes the challenge in the post, he's a shot-blocker. He just played a monster game. We really fed off his energy at the beginning of the game."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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0:41 - Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles recap their thoughts on drafting Jayson Tatum and trade rumors involving the Celtics.

6:21 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to discuss if it would be worth trading for Paul George as a one-year rental and if there would be a chance he could still around long-term if traded to Boston.

11:13 - Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Rick Porcello’s outing, the Red Sox offense coming to life, and Doug Fister being claimed by the Red Sox. 

15:10 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely look back at the Celtics/Nets trade, what the assets have turned into, and if Danny Ainge has done a good job turning those assets into players. 

Jae Crowder was liking a lot of negative tweets while Paul George rumors swirled

Jae Crowder was liking a lot of negative tweets while Paul George rumors swirled

While rumors were swirling about a possible Paul George deal on draft night, a bunch of people were tweeting at Jae Crowder, ready to send him to Indiana in a deal.

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Crowder, who isn't shy on social media, liked the series of tweets, perhaps saving them as motivation for later.

Crowder had a couple noteworthy moments on Twitter this past season. The first was when he fired back at Celtics fans after the TD Garden cheered for Jazz forward Gordon Hayward. He also exchanged comments with Devin Booker after the Suns guard's 70-point game against the Celtics