DALLAS --- Hawks forward Josh Smith celebrated his 24th birthday Friday, and, fittingly, he apparently has acquired a little bit of wisdom. Asked what he had learned from being ejected in the team's Friday night loss to New York, Smith said, "not to mess with sensitive referees, I guess," before laughing.
"I didn't really say anything to get kicked out like that, but the lesson learned is just don't say anything at all," said Smith, whose second-quarter ejection played a significant role in the Hawks' 114-107 loss.
Knicks players acknowledged that they could attack the Hawks' defense differently without Smith in the game.
Smith talked with coach Mike Woodson on Friday about his transgression.
"Hopefully he's learned from that because it's important that he's on the floor in uniform," Woodson said. "I'd rather see him foul out than get kicked out of a game. ... We've got to have him on the floor playing."
Early on in Saturday's game, Smith was called for an offensive foul that he disagreed with. Rather than protest, Smith clasped his hands and walked away.
Woodson said he wants guard Jamal Crawford to pick up his defense.
"That's something that maybe other coaches haven't really pushed him that in that area," Woodson said. "But our defense is predicated on team --- everybody's got to be willing to buckle down and play it. ... That's where my focus has been with him in terms of trying to help us win."
Guard Joe Johnson had about 12 family members at the game. Johnson is from Little Rock, Ark.
Former Hawk and NBA slam-dunk champion Spud Webb sat courtside. Webb lives in Dallas.
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