Josh Smith tried to warn us.
When Al Horford went down for the regular season with a torn left pectoral muscle, Smith warned anyone that would listen that the Hawks would not just fold and relinquish their position in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Three wins later and folks are finally starting to listen to the Hawks' enigmatic star, who pounded the Toronto Raptors for a game-high 28 points and a season-high 15 rebounds to propel the Hawks to a 93-84 Martin Luther King Jr. Day win at Philips Arena.
Smith is willing to serve as the Hawks' catalyst for as long as it takes, and will do it his way. His teammates will either follow his lead or have to move aside as Smith continues to do his thing. And so far, they have followed.
"He's just playing, not worrying about anything, about missing shots or anything ... just playing," Jeff Teague said of Smith. "And I think it's carrying over to everybody. He has me playing like that, not worrying about things, turnovers, things like...