ATLANTA -- During his four-plus seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Josh Smith has had plenty of run-ins with head coach Mike Woodson. The most recent incident occurred during Atlanta's 98-91 loss at Charlotte on Friday, when a heated disagreement at halftime between Smith and Woodson resulted in Woodson benching Smith for the entire second half.
"It happens. That's all I can tell you," said Woodson, a former Pistons assistant coach. "It happens. As a coach, you deal with all sorts of things each and everyday. It's how you approach it, and deal with it. As a coach, I felt I dealt with it the best way I can."
Detroit Pistons coach Michael Curry understands that players and coaches are not always going to see eye-to-eye.
"Everyone handles things differently," Curry said. "I just always try to not let nothing become personal; just try to do everything from a Basketball standpoint, what's best for the team. If you stick with that, hopefully everything else will be OK."
But the Hawks' internal turmoil comes at critical point in their season.
Atlanta came into Saturday's game against Detroit having lost two in a row and seven of its last 10 games.
Their grip on the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference -- and the home court advantage that comes with it -- has been slipping away with Miami and Detroit steadily gaining ground.
"It's just a matter of our team getting that focus back," said Woodson, who added that he felt there has been some slippage in his team's sense of urgency.
"We got 20 games left. It shouldn't be anybody comfortable about anything," Woodson said. "We haven't accomplished anything yet. We're trying to make sure that we maintain our position and stay in the playoff race."
Maxiell steps up
Jason Maxiell has been one of Detroit's most productive backups lately. He came into Saturday's game against the Hawks averaging eight points and five rebounds in his past three games.
"He's been playing well," Curry said. "As we've said before, With Maxie it's all about rebounding the Basketball. When he defends and gets defensive rebounds, he's always going to get consistent minutes. When he gets consistent minutes, he's going to make explosive plays for us both offensively and defensively."
Herrmann's board work
Although Walter Herrmann is looked upon to provide the Pistons with another scoring option off the bench, Curry reiterated that Herrmann doesn't have to necessarily make shots to be effective. To illustrate his point, Curry mentioned Detroit's 108-91 win over Golden State on Friday. Although Herrmann missed six of his seven shots from the field, he also grabbed seven rebounds (six on the defensive boards).