The explanations for Josh Smith's improved free-throw shooting are disappointingly predictable -- hard work, improved form and better focus.
Smith entered Saturday's game shooting 71.5 percent from the line, vast improvement on his 58.8 percent in 2008-09 and 61.8 percent last season.
Smith attributed the improvement to taking his time at the line and not overthinking the shot.
Coach Larry Drew said that Smith worked on his free-throw shooting over the summer and noted that he tweaked his technique. This season, Smith is raising the ball from the side of his head, whereas last season he shot from in front of his face. Smith also has created a better shooting base with his legs.
"He looks a lot more fluid," Drew said.
Smith is challenging the best percentage of his career, 71.9 percent in 2005-06, his second year in the NBA. He entered Saturday's game having made 22 of his past 26 in the past four games.
After waiving him Wednesday, the Hawks brought back guard/forward Damien Wilkins on Saturday with a 10-day contract. Wilkins, the nephew of Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, played against the Pacers and was elated for the chance. Brought in Dec. 3 to help fill in for the then-injured Joe Johnson, Wilkins agonized over his future after the Hawks let him go.
"I was happy to be here, to have been here and to have the opportunity to wear this uniform," he said. "It's been something I've been wanting to do my whole career, my whole life."
Drew was noncommittal about the length of Wilkins' stay. He said the team considered other options before settling on Wilkins. While he has earned the respect of coaches and players with his defensive energy, he is the 15th player on the roster, the maximum allowed. Signing him now for the remainder of the season would limit the team's flexibility.
Forward Marvin Williams did not play, resting the back injury he suffered against Golden State on Dec. 29. He is considered day-to-day. Mo Evans started in his place. … Williams and guard Jamal Crawford, both from the Seattle area, watched the Seahawks-Saints playoff game in the locker room before the game. ... Guard Jeff Teague suffered a contusion on his right hand in the first half and did not return.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution