Hawks suspend top-scorer Josh Smith for 1 game

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 16, 2013
The Atlanta Hawks suspended top-scorer Josh Smith for Wednesday night's home game against the Brooklyn Nets for ''conduct detrimental to the team.'' The one-game suspension, which comes with an undisclosed fine, was announced Wednesday by Hawks general manager Danny Ferry. The Hawks did not reveal the conduct that led to the suspension. Smith was called for a technical foul in Monday night's 97-58 loss at Chicago. Only a late basket by Jeff Teague saved the Hawks from setting their lowest scoring total in franchise history. The Hawks have lost six of seven. ''Clearly I am competitive and was frustrated by our recent losses,'' Smith said in a statement released by the team. ''I understand and respect the team's actions and just want to get back on the court to do whatever is necessary to help my teammates. I apologize for letting them down and apologize to our fans for not being available for tonight's game.'' The 27-year-old Smith leads the team with 16.5 points and 2.3 blocked shots per game. He also is averaging 8.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Smith, an Atlanta native and nine-year veteran, set career highs with his averages of 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds last season. Ferry said he expects a positive response to the suspension from Smith. ''Josh and I discussed the issue and he understood and accepted this course of action,'' Ferry said. ''We are confident that he will respond positively, learn from this experience and come back with a renewed sense of purpose to the team moving forward.'' Smith can be a free agent after the season, and his future with the team is a key for the Hawks. Ferry could decide to trade the 6-foot-9 forward, especially if the Hawks keep falling in the Eastern Conference standings. Ferry traded guard Joe Johnson and forward Marvin Williams before the season.
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