--F Josh Smith came into Friday's game against Washington with 899 blocks, needing just one to surpass Shaquille O'Neal as the youngest player to reach 900 blocks at 23 and 329 days. Smith is already the youngest to reach 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 and 800 blocks. So his latest milestone shouldn't have surprised anyone -- Shaq reached 900 at 24 years and 286 days.
Smith, however, insisted that being a shot-blocker was never a part of his NBA master plan.
"It started out with me being young and just playing with energy and now it has become something I just have a knack for," he said. "And I've worked hard to perfect it. I depend on it; my teammates definitely depend on me to do it. And reaching 900 at the age I am now is a testament to that. I don't think this is something you set out to do. It just becomes a part of what you do to try and help your team win games."
Hawks coach Mike Woodson said the sheer numbers speak for what kind of feat it is for a 6-9 forward to become one of the league's elite shot blockers.
"It's incredible," he said. "Sure, he's not a 7-footer, a classic shot-blocker. But I can't say it shouldn't be a part of his game his game because the guy is a superior athlete. He's got the ability to block shots. It's something he should feel good about and he should try and go out and get three or four a game, because it changes the game."
--It's a good thing the Hawks have this newfound trust in each other. Because in years past, things might not have gone as well as they did Friday night for Marvin Williams. The starting small forward had checked out (mentally) during the early part of the game. He had just one point and four rebounds through three quarters and wasn't a factor.
But he woke up in the fourth, matching Smith's nine points and grabbing five more rebounds and recording a steal to help finish the Wizards off in style.
"I think the biggest thing is we're just confident in each other," Williams said. "These guys saw that I was struggling early and they stuck with me. Joe didn't hesitate to make the right pass late and I was able to knock down a shot and then I got a tip-in. I think our team just trusts each other. And that's going to take us a long way."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's impressive, to see somebody block that many shots. He's got it figured out. He should write a book or something." -- F Marvin Williams, on Josh Smith being the youngest player to reach 900 blocks in league history.
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