Hawks forward Josh Smith became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 blocks late in the Hawks' game against Washington on Friday, surpassing Shaquille O'Neal, at 23 and 329 days. Smith batted away a Gilbert Arenas jumper and finished on the other end with a dunk with 4:22 to play. He already is the youngest to reach 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 and 800 blocks. O'Neal 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."
Message to Crawford
After playing veteran guard Jamal Crawford only 12 minutes in the season opener, coach Mike Woodson made sure to remind Crawford that it was only the opener. He also sat Crawford down and told him that the Hawks need him to do what he has always done best --- score.
"I had to let him know that he is a big part of what we're doing here," Woodson said. "I can't sit here and say, 'Jamal, I'm going to give you 35 minutes a game.' But I have to make him more a part of what we're doing, without a doubt. Because he has a position on this team where he can score the ball for us and be a big threat and take some of the pressure off of Joe [Johnson] and Mike [Bibby], Marvin [Williams], Josh [Smith] and Al [Horford].
"He is coming off the bench, and you need guys coming off the bench to score the ball. I've got to help him and put him in positions where he can be successful and help us win games."
Crawford must have gotten the message. He led the Hawks with 15 points in the first half.
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