The surest sign that Josh Smith is officially on his way back to the Hawks' active roster is his addition to the team's travel list for this weekend's doubleheader in Toronto (Friday) and Washington (Saturday). Smith hasn't been on the road since suffering a high left ankle sprained in the first quarter of a Nov. 7 home win over the Raptors. He sat out Wednesday's game against Milwaukee at Philips Arena but is scheduled to practice Thanksgiving morning and then travel to Toronto in the afternoon.Hawks coach Mike Woodson said there is a possibility Smith could play against the Wizards but that a more likely return is next Wednesday's home game against Memphis.
"He's definitely on his way back," Woodson said. "We'll work him some on this trip and work him some just to see where he is. But I'd rather see him practice in a big setting with everybody on the floor going up and down versus just these little bitty one-hour practices to try and get him ready to get back going.
"I'm not saying he's going to play this weekend. But we're going to make sure he's with us (on the road) so we can gauge where he is and go from there."
The Hawks keep finding ways to win in the meantime, grinding out a 102-96 win over Milwaukee Wednesday at Philips Arena.
"We're going to do what we have to do until he comes back," Al Horford said. "And whenever Josh comes back, we'll ride his fresh legs and let him get us going again."
HAWKS 102, BUCKS 96: The Hawks' season-long love affair with jump shots is going to get them into trouble some nights.
Sort of like it did Wednesday night, when too many times the Hawks squandered opportunities to share the ball and chances to blow open the game with equal fervor. They managed to outlast the Bucks 102-96 at Philips Arena, going into the Thanksgiving holiday with a 9-5 record, the Hawks' best November start in 11 years.
Having a battery of good shooters for the first time in Mike Woodson's four-year and 14-game tenure has the Hawks eyeballing shots from the perimeter like never before. And for much of Tuesday night's game, the spotty Hawks' proficiency from distance lured them into a false sense of security that risen up and bitten them on several occasions already this season.
Their refusal to drive the ball and force the action at the rim, however, cost the Hawks a chance at blowing this game wide open when there were opportunities to do so early on.
Play like this Friday night in Toronto or even in Washington Saturday, and the going will likely be much tougher. Coincidentally, it was a Flip Murray three-pointer from the corner with 54 seconds to play that provided the Hawks with a 99-91 lead and final control of the game.