Actor Marlon Wayans couldn’t deny what he was witnessing: Josh Smith is playing at another level right now.
“He’s just a beast,” Wayans said of Smith during an interview at halftime of the Hawks 113-90 beating of the Charlotte Bobcats, losers of 10 straight.
“And his shoes look like airplanes,” Wayans joked.
Massive feet and inferior competition aside, there’s no denying that Smith, the reigning NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week, and center Al Horford, who won the honor two weeks ago, have upped their games this year.
Smith finished the game with 18 points and 5 rebounds and Horford only contributed 11 and 3 for the Hawks, but neither man played more than 30 minutes during the game that was a runaway layup for the Hawks almost from the opening tip.
The Charlotte Bobcats were about as bad a defensive team as has come into Philips Arena in a long time, but that notwithstanding, Smith and Horford are balling.
Horford’s “subpar” night put an end to his NBA-leading seven consecutive double-doubles, but he still managed to dominate racking up 3 blocks and finishing the game at +17. Smith finished an impressive team-high +21.
The NBA All-Star Game voters have yet to take note, though, of either Smith or Horford’s impressive seasons. Smith is the leading vote getter on the team, receiving more than 69,000 votes, but Horford hasn’t even managed to scratch the short list for nominees. The top two vote-getters in the Eastern Conference, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, have more than 641,000 and 573,000 votes respectively.
This year the Center position has been eliminated from NBA All-Star balloting, but Horford’s numbers and his impact on defense deserve to be acknowledged. Smith has been nothing short of beastly this year, leading to Hawks to a 14-6 overall record and an 8-3 mark at home, both are among the best in the league.
While it’s unlikely the fans will vote in Horford or Smith over perennial league favorites like LeBron, Carmelo, Blake Griffin or Tim Duncan, hopefully the NBA coaches are taking notice. These guys are playing the best basketball of their careers and they deserve to make a trip to Houston in February.