Josh Smith's costly mistake 

April, 9, 2007
Ever since he turned pro out of high school, the operative question with Josh Smith has been whether his maturity would ever catch up to his talent level. Smith isn't a bad guy, but he hasn't learned yet how to keep his emotions on an even keel when he's on the hardwood. He's prone to concentration lapses on the one side, and emotional outbursts on the other.

We saw examples of both last night. First Smith settled for a long jumper over Andre Miller with 35 seconds left in a tie game rather than take the smaller defender to the basket -- showcasing his most maddening offensive trait. Then, to make matters much worse, he got into a tiff with the coaching staff moments later when he didn't get the rock on the Hawks' last possession. As a result, Atlanta coach Mike Woodson sent him to the showers for overtime and Smith was suspended for two games.

Smith got into a similar tiff with Anthony Johnson in a game earlier this year, one that resulted in his being benched for much of the second half of that game. This one is more serious in that it's a) a repeat offense and b) was directed at the coach rather than another player.