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Josh Smith takes parting shot at 'bandwagon' fans in loss to Hawks

Josh Smith took offense to the boos raining down on him at Philips Arena but when he tried to answer it blew up in his face.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night wasn't the first time that Josh Smith had made the trip to Philips Arena as a member of an opposing team. Over the last two seasons, Smith has been treated to cheers with a smattering of boos. He has been the subject of torment during the game from the Atlanta's sixth man section but his jump shooting ways while with the Hawks and in Detroit made him a somewhat easy target.

Things took a decided shift on Tuesday when Smith apparently grew tired of the heckling and thought it wise to celebrate a made three pointer that bounced off the rim and then off the backboard before falling through the net by shushing the Philips Arena crowd. It wasn't even a clean make but if you are Smith you can't be choosy.

At that point, the Rockets had a seven point lead late in the third quarter but what Smith failed to realize was that the law of averages would no doubt catch up with him. After all, Smith isn't a good shooter and a couple of made jump shots by him usually leads to more attempts which usually works out well for the opponent.

Smith re-entered the game with 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter with the Rockets clinging to a six point lead. From there we will turn to the box score to describe what happened next:

6:19 -SUB: Smith FOR Ariza

5:50 - MISS Smith 26' 3PT Jump Shot
5:47 - Smith REBOUND
5:45 - Smith Offensive Charge Foul
5:45 - Smith Foul Turnover
5:09 - MISS Smith 2'Driving Layup
4:09 - Smith Bad Pass Turnover
3:47 - MISS Smith 25' 3PT Jump Shot
3:10 - Sub Jones FOR Smith

Smith exited with the score tied at 93-93 but the Hawks all of the momentum at that point and the comeback was well on its way.

The fun didn't end until after the game when Smith decided to take another shot at the fans that filled Philips Arena on Tuesday. Smith said of the boos:

"It's not emotional to hear that," he said. "You expect a better outcome. I was here for nine years, and all I did was positive things in the community and with the team. Those fans are fickle and band wagoners so it doesn't mean anything to me."

"There were a lot of questionable calls down the stretch that dictated the outcome of the game, but we have been in situations where we had to fight through adversity before and you know, we just fell short tonight," Smith said.

In some ways I can see his point. A lot of that fickleness of this fanbase is apparent anytime the Hawks fall behind by 10 points or more. (I offer up our Twitter mentions as proof.) But, as usual Smith misses the point. He played on some very good teams during his time in Atlanta but the fans could never truly trust them. They couldn't afford to buy in for fear of being disappointed.

For every highlight and unbelievable play by Smith there was another where a lazy turnover resulted in a half hearted effort to get back on defense. For every soaring block there was an ill-timed jump shot. For all of the good he did in the community there were the instances where he sat uninterested in what his head coach had to say during timeouts.

We have heard it all before. Supporters say that Smith never had a good head coach in Atlanta but his time in Detroit under Stan Van Gundy proves that comment to be a farce. Smith is who he is. The problem has always been that Smith can't recognize what he is as a player.

Smith wanted to be the star but lacked the tools and the leadership qualities to make it happen. I never questioned his desire to win, but still today he has no idea what it takes. A quick glance at the box score shows Smith with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. A solid performance for a bench player but closer examination reveals that he did the Rockets no favors in the fourth quarter. Its a situation that I and Hawks fans everywhere play out far too often.

Questionable calls down the stretch? None were more questionable than the decision Kevin McHale made to play Josh Smith at crunch time.